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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Carl Sandburg's poem Languages


  1. Rasha says:

    yes this poem is good (^.^)

  2. Steve says:

    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.

  3. Takizzle says:

    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.

  4. Carla says:

    this poem is really good!!!!!even though i’m not sure what it means.How can people not comment in such beautiful poems?????oh well

  5. wellionton says:

    It is very good!Tonight i will give you the answer.I’m sure of that!

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