lost languages

these names that have lost their origins
names that have lost their sounds
that have lost their meanings
lost meanings without references
without words words that once rolled off
the tongue rolled off the tongue
immense with meaning
with meaning now lost now
untranslatable immense and untranslatable
these names without meaning

these names belonging nowhere
belonging nowhere to no one to no one
at all invisible undernourished
undernourished and withered into invisibility
without a way a way to put sounds together
sounds that together form words
words that become names
these names that are lost

canvas back 1s

these names without scripts
without scripts or context without
the context of language a language
of mirrors mirrors now empty
mirrors that yield no answers
answers to questions questions
without context how and what and where
and why are they lost and where did they go
who knows the names the names the names
the names that have lost their meaning

canvas back close up s

For dVerse, where Bjorn has us chanting,

32 thoughts on “lost languages

  1. You’ve touched on one of my obsessions here, Kerfe! I have always dreamed of deciphering a lost language, in particular Linear A from Bronze Age Crete. I am looking at your designs and wondering if they could be based on the Indus Valley script? They look familiar but I can’t quite place them…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Ingrid. It’s actually what the back of cross stiching looks like. My grandmother taught me to make sure my stitching always looked as beautiful on the back as it did on the front–and sometimes it’s even more interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kerfe, as soon as I started reading, I thought of the Indigenous children who were taken from their homes and placed in Indian Schools and elsewhere who got “lost” one way or another. They’ve lost their names and so much more. Your creative mind is being put to powerful work. I see your art and stitching as hieroglyphics that speak volumes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really makes you wonder what else has been lost in time, that faded and could never be deciphered or re-learned. What other languages are out there that may have existed? What books and literature, that were once destroyed or lost, existed that contained certain knowledge and information? It’s interesting to think about, but as well wistful for what we may not exactly know.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting theme to explore – lost and meaning are the words that stood for me. This made me reflect on lost heritage, lost names, buried and lost language. I can imagine the implications of this – far deeper it can go in one’s lifetime. Your artwork compliments this beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s wonderful. It makes me think of the Aboriginal people here involved in reclaiming their lost languages. So much meanings bound up in words – meanings that disappear when the words aren’t used.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Suzanne. So much of the early history of humans was passed down orally. And each language has its own subtle beauty and meaning. Part of the culture is lost when the language disappears. It’s happened/happening to native peoples here too.


  6. I’ll have to look up Linear A. I’m not familiar with it, but there is so much we have lost–if we can recover even a little bit, it would be a good thing.


  7. Wow; this leaves me with a heavy feeling of loss, Kerfe 😦
    At first, I didn’t even realize it was a chant, until I noticed the words repeating themselves – it’s a poem that flows and feels totally natural – like these words were meant to be together.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David. The earth is losing parts of itself, humans are losing parts of themselves, at a dizzying pace. You are right to value and want to pass on your cultural heritage. So much has been destroyed or erased in the name of progress or power.


  8. This is so skillfully rendered! I love how gorgeously the repeating lines flow into one another adding to the depth and power of the poem. Kudos! 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

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