Let the World's People Shout


Have you noticed how time-free a person is
when approaching a new language?
Yes, you stumble over consonants,
postpone vowels,
encumbered with all the armour of your longing
for the conquest of expression.
And yes, your tongue is like
a baby bumping along on its bottom.

Well then, let each of the world's peoples learn
the excommunicated language of its neighbour,
yes, creep and crouch in corners,
lose sleep in messing it up,
since this is how tenses will be deleted.
The past will not come fluent on the tongue.
The language of today will stay. It will sue for peace,
pull down all the barbed-wire verbs.
The imperfect will never be so perfect
as when it ceases to exist.

And cleft, split, and rupture will be
made whole in the open mouth.
Each new learner will have the memory
of correcting constructions,
picking up one's bed, rectifying speech.

There will be no time for spreading hatred,
since the tribes will be overcome
by the riches of all the founding stones –

And through the babies in Babel
a yoke will be raised, a United Languages heal
in freeing oneself, freeing in sowing the seed.

English translation by Joseph Clancy