I struggle to speak a language with no syntax,
no grammatical armada to shepherd me in to port.
Colloquial mistakes in this vocabulary can be fatal
to the unschooled linguist, drunk with misplaced
appreciation of words with no definition, carelessly
assigning meaning to gibberish phrases and noisy chatter.

This difficult tongue is awash in unintelligible
sentences, a writhing patois eager to drown even the
native speaker in a tidal pool of his own making.
The only way to avoid its deadly currents is to
quiet the conversation and remain mute, safely
out of reach of its relentless, ravaging floods.

Try as I might, though, I find myself unable to
endure silence, the only safe harbor from its storms.
The allure of the language bathes my self-imposed
aphasia with an unwelcome cure, a powerful elixir
that overcomes my desire for silence, replacing it
with an overwhelming need to read its dictionary, aloud.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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