The One

The babe awoke with no cry, no startle—
Dormant, wide-eyed, desperate and idle.
The nurse set aside that faculty collected:
Half the babe's tongue—in one language,
Native, and the other, mute.
Mother raised no dispute, neither the babe
For what can she say; what can she say.

Now returns to me a vague memory,
"I remember it sacrificed to the sea."
Half a tongue the sirens swallowed,
And their song resulting, I envied.
I understood not the language they spoke,
But its poetic throes, I know; oh, I know.
Probed for their origins, the sirens replied,
The pond devoured Narcissus whole
And rebirthed a woman—as it did you,
As it did I. It was thus, that day,
The babe indulged her first cry.
So, I supposed it narcissistic to compose
Poetry in that language I do not know.
From the sea, I left—joined civilization at the coast,
Disowned the love I had known—
For that surgical language I spoke.

Poet in vain and the title deceptive;
I am without that language resurrected.
When fluency decayed at sea-bed,
And for the sirens became song,
Forfeited—the mother tongue.
Verse-after-verse in redundant poem
To supplement the One I cannot write.
If I composed the poem,
All One verse repeated; Of their words,
I remember few.
"Волим те" : "I love you."

If "I love you" were language enough,
Then proclaim me the poet.
I will repeat, for as many half-a-tongue allows,
"I love you. I love you. I love you."