You can’t talk yet, and you’re not
too put out about that.
Words send you into convulsions,
especially verbs – the Imperative Mood
is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard.
Wake up. Go asleep. Do. Don’t. Be.
You have your own lingo
any fool could understand,
even a linguist, given time.
Grin. Yowl. Gurn.
Yawn. Grunt. Silence
that makes perfect
sense to everyone.
You’re behind schedule
according to doctors’ charts,
the childish child experts.
But if you learn, and I’m afraid you will,
as many words as there are rules of grammar
in the libraries of An Gúm
you won’t say a blessed thing
worth anything more
than what you’ve already learned
in the womb’s elocution room,
the punctuation of laughter back to front,
the declension of rain into tears.
by Louis de Paor
from Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig
publisher: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, 2005
translation: Louis de Paor
from Clapping in the Cemetery
publisher: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, 2005,