Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Languages are a link in time

Only through languages man has been able to link his present life to the past and to let future generations build their own links to a time that will then be their past.

I've already written about how important and how great languages are, and about how they have a crucial role in man's history and in the construction of different kinds of stories that are essential for thousands of cultures from all around the world.

This time I want to share with you a beautiful poem by Carl Sanburg, an American writer, editor and poet that has win three Pulitzer prizes. The poem is called "Languages" and says a lot about what they represent for man in time, and about how man molds them to make them become a symbol of what he really is.

It also talks about how time changes everything, both man and languages, and about how, like rivers, languages can transform and also die…

I'll just share it with you and leave these beautiful words to your own interpretation. I hope you like it!


By Carl Sandburg

THERE are no handles upon a language

Whereby men take hold of it

And mark it with signs for its remembrance.

It is a river, this language,

Once in a thousand years

Breaking a new course

Changing its way to the ocean.

It is mountain effluvia

Moving to valleys

And from nation to nation

Crossing borders and mixing.

Languages die like rivers.

Words wrapped round your tongue today

And broken to shape of thought

Between your teeth and lips speaking

Now and today

Shall be faded hieroglyphics

Ten thousand years from now.

Sing--and singing--remember

Your song dies and changes

And is not here to-morrow

Any more than the wind

Blowing ten thousand years ago.

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