There once was a neogrammarian,
A lexicographic contrarian,
Who suffered an allergy
To every analogy
And deemed every loan-word barbarian.
I love science: the facts! the statistics!
And yet grammar and words are artistic.
So combining the two
Is what I had to do;
Now I’m blissfully loving linguistics!
—Morris Swadesh III
A reference grammar’f Rotokas
That details its system of focus
Banished lies without number
And from dogmatic slumber
On language and meaning awoke us.
It is not yet light, not even pale light;
Only a vague change in the depth of darkness, like an inverse shadow,
But it tells me dawn draws near.
Not long now.
Black will turn to grey, then that blue that I’ve never been able to name.
Sparrows will summon the sun, warding off the last and largest stars
In wantonly cheerful haste.
Too soon. I love the night.
I love the closeness of it—my world reduced to a single room, a single bulb, a single screen.
I still have need of night’s comforts, its quiet, its endless reflection.
And my paper is not finished.