Tower of Babel

According to an article by Heather Altfeld, “[I]t will take between ten and fourteen days from now for another of the world’s 6,900 languages to die out. So let’s say that today the last speaker of something somewhere is dying.”  

As a child, I felt torn when I heard the Bible story about the Tower of Babel. I was devastated that people wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other but I was filled with quiet glee over the beauty I heard in languages other than my own.

Mother Tongues

When she thinks of language, dreams stand shoulder-close
like clothes laid across her back to judge the fit.

Alone she speaks words collected from other tongues,
last speaker of an ancient language greeting Charon.

Tonation, she believes, is key to the first voicing
ere wo/man forgot to listen to self-blood in another.

She, paragon of close study, casts herself conduit
ferrets out the filament of all communings.
Our fate, she knows, depends on her.

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