Der Vallfish


Huge, svelte beater of the ocean paths
The blue or sulphurbottom whale
Casts its bulk through the depths
But cannot outrun its tormentor, the harpoon gun,
So all its hundred feet or so
Are liquefied in the factory ship
With the result that there no longer are
Enough to meet and mate.

And so to push the species forward
While the ocean may contain
Individuals, they cannot find one the other
And the species will be zero
In the fullness of time.

In similar vein, those of Ashkenaz
(except some dolphins of the devout)
Cruise the English-speaking seas
Without the help of a helpmate
And so if they long
To hear a juicy mama-loshen
They will have to speak out loud.

And some who would have wished
To speak it are thwarted
By obtuse progenitors
And so the aforementioned sulphurbottoms
Sail in lonely linguistic splendor
Around the world and then
There will be none.

So rather than frontiers
A folk must guard its language, in which
I say good-bye.

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