Monthly Archives: June 2009

Words From A Dying Language

Fifty to ninety percent of languages are expected to go extinct in this century, according to the Rosetta Stone project. Sahaptin is spoken by the elders of Yakima, Warm Springs and Umatilla Indian tribes of Oregon in the USA.

Here are a few of the beautiful, sibilant sounding words in the Sahaptin language:

s h a c k   –   i l í i t i l i i t     ( h u t ,   s h a n t y ) .

s h a d e   –   c h á w i i s h k ‘ i s h i t     ( s c r e e n ) .

s h a d o w   –   l a w i i s h k i s h i t

Ah, Paris!


Ah, Paris!

Sitting under the maple trees
In the gardens of the Tuileries,

A bird shat on my hand.
And when I did not move,

Again on my jacket. In Paris,
even the birds do not suffer fools gladly.

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Poem by Bill Tilman

For dreadfulness nought can excel

the prospect of Bung from Guidel,

and words die away on the tongue,

when perceiving Guidel from Bung.

Bill Tilman

Joel’s Poem

What I Lost

I lost my dog to the wind.

I lost the reason to be mad.

I lost my baby toys.

–J.B.   (age 12)

Poem for Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Mark Twain chewed,
bit his cigar,
turning it over in brown-stained fingers,
rolling his billiard ball,
over and over,
hitting the same three rails,
writing Huckleberry Finn.


A Lammargeier

Scything the dawn fields of sky

Leaves stubble of stars