Bio Note: As a poet who slid sideways from the study of Historical Linguistics to the writing of poems, I’ve been forever fascinated by what is now referred to as “Proto-Indo-European” (“PIE”)-- the ancient ancestor of about 445 of the modern languages in use today. I often wish I could hear it spoken, but that’s clearly not to be.
Speak to Me in the Oldest Tongue
Proto-Indo-European, the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, is estimated to have been spoken from 4500 to 2500 BCE. Speak to me in the oldest tongue and let me hear the rugged consonants rattling their percussion down the centuries; its vowels like reeds, set shimmering by an eloquent intake of breath six thousand years ago and still pulsing, having cleaved into hundred-part harmony; sing for me the trills of southern Spain, the arpeggios of Tuscany, the thick, moist velars of the Schwarzwald; strike the alto bells of India and the cymbals of Kildare—each a variation on an ancient air, the plainsong of angels.
©2021 Marilyn Taylor
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