Poem: Before Language

By Richard Schiffman


Up from the fountain

the babble of children,

drenched with surprise.  Alive!

The rain of their syllables

does not strain to speech,

their glottal whoops and yells

never jell to full-fledged

words or phrases.

Parents hover bird-like

by their brood.  Parents fan

and fan their little flames.

And I, alone, the childless one,

sit purposeless, yet not in vain.

Before language was, the rain

Children’s voices pouring

from the sky.  I close my eyes

and let it wash my dust.