Poetry: “Romance Language” by Maryann Corbett

At first, when sounds were shifting,
(although the moves were noiseless)
by unresisted drifting
we voiced what should be voiceless

and though your moves were noiseless,
still I was moved, the cause
your voice. No longer voiceless,
we broke the ancient laws,

moved by a modern cause
to mock a classic notion.
We broke the ancient laws
and set the tongues in motion,

but mock a classic notion
(grim are the laws of change)
and tongues, once set in motion,
can let the words grow strange.

Grim are the laws of change:
the syllables, unstrung,
have let the words grow strange
so now a vulgar tongue,

its syllables unstrung,
leaves endings unresolved.
We speak a vulgar tongue.
Its case cannot not be solved

by endings. Unresolved,
the lips, the cheeks grow hollow.
Their case cannot be solved.
Their logic does not follow.

The lips and cheeks grow hollow
at last, and sounds are shifting.
We let the logic follow
its unresisted drifting.

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