At the heart of the matter lies the struggle for what John Clare called ‘self-identity’, a chief factor in which is language, one’s own peculiar tongue and the dialect of the tribe.
On a calm day the gaps, the audible
ellipses, become la-la-la-la-la—
the way that most tongues sing along
when we don’t have the words.
I know this in my scant Estonian: that laul,
is song. John, stay in those days,
not the flurries of hard consonants, the ka-,
the ga-. that come with finger-stabbing
and a hunted look. Lully, lulla... I wish you
the Coventry Carol, comfort on the edge
of any language, its lully, lulla, lullay