Language


speak my name
over the air waves
a sudden rainbow
arcobaleno dipinto
a verse in time
una favola
a bedtime story

I came into the world
hearing sounds from different tongues
meaning attached and words unknown
repeating—discovering
I forged my own shell
hard and soft
geometric and uneven

sometimes irreverent
wading through phonics
turning tunes into imaginary dialects
I jumbled the stories you told me
and painted my world yellow with nicknames
flying elephants
pink flamingoes
green Iguanas

“Perché il Black Cat è andato via?”
I would tire you endlessly with
my two-year-old questions with no answers
“Why did the Black Cat go away?”

Why is the sky blue?
Why am I your daughter?
Why did I pick you?
Why am I lonely?

Crocheting a rope
from a magic toy mushroom
Funghetto magico
I would sit for hours
staring at the chickens
listening to their cackles

I watched the sun rays streaming into my room
they made beautiful streaks on the ceiling
what is the word: soffitto

Sounds in multiple languages
sifting through my mind
in time meaning comes into focus
an ever-increasing discovery
of self
of thought

The endless possibilities
an inside world that can express what you fish for
terse and dry
intense and focused
widespread and colorful
emotional and dramatic

Once I closed the doors behind me
I found I was inside the world of words
Parole parole parole

symbols—sounds—metaphors
onomatopoeia

endless creation

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2 thoughts on “Language

  1. Boy, do I love this poem. I wish I had another language than English, but since I don’t, I guess I’ll celebrate Oona Hayes.
    The deep music of language is in this poem.
    Once I closed the doors behind me
    I found I was inside the world of words..
    a place where I too have found myself.
    What makes the poem are the two year old’s questions:
    Why is the sky blue?
    Why am I your daughter?
    Why did I pick you?
    Why am I lonely?
    It is the marrying of words and language to emotion that makes good poetry so powerful. It is this that also leads to….”endless creation.” The two year old’s questions,
    The endless possibilities
    an inside world that can express what you fish for…
    the world painted:
    yellow with nicknames
    flying elephants
    pink flamingoes
    green Iguanas….
    Sounds in multiple languages
    sifting through my mind
    in time meaning comes into focus
    an ever-increasing discovery
    of self
    of thought–
    Language, poetry, emotion, meaning. Wow.

  2. I wrote this poem for an assignment that came up in my teacher training a few years ago. It surprises me now because I remember that it came out so effortlessly and after I’d written it it almost seemed like it was not even really a poem until I reread it… I am glad you like fit. In fact, I have a version that a friend incorporated into a musical piece with me reading it. I’d like to post it here and I saw that on your site you posted a piece with you reading. Do you know what kind of file it needs to be by any chance?

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