Dialect Differences


I hear the beautiful voice of Seamus Heaney

or Derek Wollcot, great poets from places torn

and despoiled by speakers of standard English

through a history of torture, betrayal, and lies.

Each turns, oddly, to classic myths to bind

and enlighten us. They turn as well to English

as a weapon to rebuild their world and return our tongue

more true, with images that sing, more real than real,

that acknowledge the sea in the droplet that brightens a flower.

I work in Silicon Valley.

Here the power lies, the money; no war

despoiled these orchards, gunfire remains unheard,

the bodies run on untortured except by ambition.

Plans are more present than history or who

you are. Here is a junk heap of language;

here it lies, initialized, unspoken, abstracted,

and interfaced to catch the eye. Here's Tymshare

MacWrite and SoftWaire; here voice is synthesized.

It leaves me speechless.




 Copyright © 1986 by Dirk van Nouhuys: All rights reserved.

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