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Carl Sandburg - Languages

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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Added: Feb 4 2004 | Viewed: 1676 times | Comments and analysis of Languages by Carl Sandburg Comments (5)

Languages - Comments and Information

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 16. Languages
Volume: Chicago Poems
- Other Days (1900-1910)
Year: Published/Written in 1900
Poem of the Day: May 29 2012

Comment 5 of 5, added on June 5th, 2010 at 2:38 PM.

yes this poem is good (^.^)

Rasha from United Arab Emirates
Comment 4 of 5, added on September 13th, 2007 at 12:09 AM.

I disagree with the first comment. This poem does not hint at "the 'one' language," but is a commentary on the fluid nature of languages in general.

Steve from Canada
Comment 3 of 5, added on March 8th, 2007 at 2:03 PM.

This poem is trying to say that years ago, they have been using the "one" language, and now, you do not use the "one" language from long ago. If you look at it in the futute, you may not use a certain language, they you have heard in 2000.


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