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To Sing the World

Each language has its own music

And those who sing it are its harmonic true

From opening bars they recognize each other

They are as staccato to legato

As guttural is to milk

As icebergs from lagoons

They smolder and hiss as fire steams from water

As plucked guitars from tom-toms beating smoke


Consider: a flurry of Italians

Accellerando agitato as spaghetti around spoon to mouth

Ignitable as Latin is to love


And there, a day or two across the water

The dulcet tones of le Français, cedillad and accented

As accordions in the street

Each syllable a mistress, douloureux or sweet


Listen to Greece, her tongue all olive oil and X’s

Proud as phrases carved on ancient stones

Bouzoukis lilting linking arms stepping foot after foot

Around breaking plates, while at a wooden table sits

Pythagorus counting his magic numbers

Discoursing on the healing music makes


Consider isiXhosa: fifteen different click sounds

The poetry of ancestors and dreams

Hear the language of night people, phantom figures

They close their eyes, surrender to the music of the stars


Consider translations: often golden words of beauty, works of art
Masterly forged doubloons that subtly miss the mark

True at times to libretto, timbre, image or melody. Never all


Listen to those that cry rivers, raise voices in anger or regret,

Argue in tones of bedlam, discordant and strident as Babel

Each striving to drown out the other

As across the sky a wild goose cries in Esperanto

Flying from tongue to tongue honking from land to land

Aliaj vivoj. We touch their wings, listen

Begin to understand


Each of us has his own music

We swirl with each other, against each other, over our green globe

In choreographies of dissonance and pride

We chant the languages of tribes with cymbals, swords or scimitars

Our words betray us, cascading from a past we cannot hide

Consider the language of flags: each emotion, each devotion,

Each declaration of respect or honor, each hymn an anthem

To divide us


[Consider the music of ants on leaves

The language of grass growing

The sounds of desert winds blowing]


Each language has its magic, its memories

Its palaces and echoing ballrooms

Its secret passageways, its trysts and feuds

Our voices twist and twirl around themselves

Each in its own cadence, temperament, rhythmic beat and break

The music of our world, vowels flowing around continents

Like chocolate snakes


Listening carefully, we discern

Melodies that slip between the words

The music of children playing

The things that whales are saying

The music of old age praying

Cadenza, coda, finalé

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© Johnmichael Simon



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