Monday, January 17, 2011

to the tongue


Whatever we say
we know there is another
language under this one
a word of it is always there on the tip of you
unsayable and early
O you for whom 
all languages have been named
who have none of your own
naked sleeper in the cave 
where you were born
dreamer without words
who first tasted 
a verb of the world
you who speak as though
you could see
you have not forgotten
the serpent your ancestor
its fluttering inarticulate flame
or expectation
on the way to you

~ W. S. Merwin
from Present Company