language romances

i fell in love with german when i learned it didn’t require spitting

wasn’t harsh or guttural and reminiscent of nazis

but soft and slurring when i said ich liebe dich

i fell in love with italian learning musical terms as a pianist

legato and largo, pianissimo and adagio tumbled liquidly

from my lips, my heart singing like pavarotti’s puccini

i fell in love with latin and greek as a student of the ancients

yearning to revive a language long dead or argue

in the tongue of the philosophers and poets and playwrights

i fell in love with french reading dorothy sayers’ lord peter

and marveling that her characters spoke it with ease

whilst i could only count to ten, and none too well

i fell in love with welsh when i discovered my ancestry

wanting to have some tie to the motherland of my past

legitimize the language of the oppressed and despised

i fell in love with english at the muse’s first call

feeling the tug and pull of words at my heart and the flow

of syllables in my veins as i wrote myself down on paper

i fell in love with language, which some might think strange

but the history since babel fell i find fascinating, mysterious

how this gift develops, evolves, is corrupted and used to corrupt

yet how it can inspire and uplift and record the best of man

when we use language we are at our most God-like