My great grand mother tongue was wing, or wind, or water.
Txori txiki-txikiak, orain hemen, gero han,
mogħnija b’għerf arkan, b’mużga ta’ mitt elf nota
tressant des formes parfaites dans le bleu des savanes,

eta izan zen hitza. , , , ιώτα,
del pecho a la boca, de Adán en Adán,
les mille voyelles du vent, in ever-shifting order,
lekutatik etorri, lekutara joan.

Denok dugu barruan ibai ezkutu bat,
manantial matinal, babbling hubbub of blood,
ħamla ta’ nar u nida titkaxkar u tintradd.

Edan, erdaldunak, hau da zuen herria,
f’kull ħamrija l-għeruq, f’nifs ir-riħ kull żerriegħa,
et avant tout vignoble ce vin du mot nomade.


My great grand mother tongue was wing, or wind, or water. The smallest of birds, now here, then there, gifted with an arcane knowledge, with the music of a hundred thousand notes, braiding perfect forms in the blue of the savannahs,

and thus was the word. Name, bird, ‘āleph, iota,* from chest to mouth, from Adam to Adam, the thousand vowels of the wind, in ever-shifting order, coming from afar, going afar.

Within each one of us a concealed river, morning spring, babbling hubbub of blood, torrent of fire and dew dragged out and given back.

Drink, foreigners, for this is your land, in every soil the roots, in the breath of the wind every seed, and before all vineyards this wine of the nomad word.

* Notes

ren – Egyptian hieroglyph for the word “name”, made up of the letters equivalent to R (mouth) and N (water).

mušen – Sumerian cuneiform character meaning “bird”.

‘āleph – First letter of the Pheonician alphabet, thought to be derived from the West Semitic word for “ox”.

. ιώτα….iota – Ninth letter of the Greek alphabet.

The expressions “Txori txiki-txikiak”, “orain hemen, gero han”, and “Denok dugu barruan ibai [ezkutu] bat” are borrowed, respectively and with slight modifications, from the following poems of Basque poet Kirmen Uribe: Txoriak neguan, Musua and Ibaia.