Reminders from an Irish Rose

I appreciate graceful language where I find it, but for a people wielding history’s most acquisitive linguistic hegemony, we’ve hidden it well.

English suffers from its economic superiority. Victors are precise, even eloquent in the description of conquests past, but the beautiful human anguish dries up and falls away from a people too well-heeled, too comfortable. Plushly tangible goods obscure what is numinous, what is imprecise, what is elusive and eternal and beyond the ken of accounting.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, artist Chris Nyo

Those with nothing place their faith in the all, transcending the “some” with their sacrifices. Neither organized nor fashionable, they are only beautiful and embarrassing.

We look away from them. We batten down our society against them, hone language to a fine edge of control and feel safe in our architected, constructed, mannerly world. Careful excision of the unexpected armors our immunity to rambling beauty.

Surely there exist ugly languages that are dead or defeated, but no sophisticated lingua franca, useable for acquiring a flat screen world view, removes us longingly backward toward primal understanding of the human condition like a Gaelic reel, evening prayer call from an embattled minaret, or chants from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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