Wednesday, February 17, 2010
City of Words by Hicks, Patrick
It started when Brutus herded cows
through the mudflats of Tamesis.
That word, for it is words that build walls,
was crushed beneath the roads of Londinium.
After Nero’s plucking, the Anglo-Saxons
rowed upstream, flexed their accents,
split mighty oaks into walls, created Lundenwíc.
Decades of vowel-chewing made it Lundenburg,
followed by French bricks of sound until—
now—young immigrants spice the pronunciation
of Leicester Square, Southwark, and Marylebone.
It isn’t just history that stamps citizenship,
but the tongue, and the ear.
Copyright © Patrick Hicks 2010