The Genesis of Language

by Marilyne Bertoncini


There was a before
there was
was nothing.

The world was closed
on itself
in the green shade.

The world was mute
and words
had to be


In the green peace
her voice
the tiny
thread of a voice
where words congeal.

There was a before
there was an after
said before she


Warping words
at the loom of the marshes
where to say
the words.

A flight of words
like a handfull of birds
thrown to the winds
and the world

and millions of words
hang to the stars;
disclosed, the world

She says
and the vaporous lace
of her words
alights on the waters
where She disappears.

Translated into English by the author and Barry Wallenstein

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Marilyne Bertoncini – writer, translator, litterary critic,and editor of the online review "Recours au Poème" – has published numerous articles and critics on litterature, and translated the work of poets from all over the world. Her own poetry and photos have appeared in journals and online magazines such as Europe, The Wolf, Cordite, La Traductière, Capital des Mots, Ce qui reste, Phoenix... and can be seen on her blog –

Her translation of Tony's Blues, poems by Barry Wallenstein, Martin Harrison's The Rainbow Snake, The Book of Seven Lives and Histoire de Famille, by Ming Di, have recently been published by Recours au Poème éditeurs and éditions Transignum for the last title. Her first personnal collection, Labyrinthe des Nuits was published in March 2015.


Love this meditative poem on words, the world, nature, speaking - sound and language coming from a "there," before "nothing." Wonderfully complex. I see the "She" taking form as she speaks and also passing away, as all things do.
Sarah Rohrs, Jan 05, 2015