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Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Mother Tongue. by John von Daler


                 For years I read. Then I played, notes from sheet music. Later the notes were improvised. I composed and arranged. All the while I was learning #Danish. I even learned when to say English words with a Danish accent so I could sound more Danish than the Danes. I learned to growl through a closed throat like some viking ordering mead. I even wrote songs and lyrics in my new language out of respect for my new country.

                Then I reached a point where I wanted to hang both the music and the words up. My back was aching, my psyche was in shreds, I had expressed the best of what I could manage to express.
                That's when she came through the door, my Mother Tongue. She looked around, taking me in, my new language, my body of work, my state of mind. She was an impressive lady. Obviously she had been around, had taken, but she had also given. The garb of her gab was loose-fitting and revealing, but she carried her indecency with pride and nonchalance.
                She took a quick look at me, crooked her finger and called me over.
                Loosen up, boy.  Stop talking like a frog. You forget all those vowels and give me some consonants. I want to feel the wind from your consonants. You know you been thinking about Momma all these years, so let it out! I want to hear you say you love me! I want you to express your love so that I can feel it deep down in my etymology.
                I'm a shy person, so I was a little taken back by all this straightforwardness. After all, Danish is about one hundred thousand words shy of English. She was asking me to express myself in ways I had not imagined for years.               
                Come over here to Momma, she said and patted a place for me to sit on her thigh. I am going to teach you to hunt and peck again, and she pulled my head over to hers and whispered in my ear, I am going to revivify your Mother Tongue! Momma is going to set you free!
                I loosened her hold on me. After all I am an independent person with a mind of my own.
                But even as I clawed my way out of the all-encompassing and sticky metaphor in which she had tried to entrap me, I was thinking, nay day-dreaming, It could be fun though, just once, with no strings attached, sort of, you know, among consenting adults...


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