my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, April 14, 2013


This poem by Marie, one of my faithful readers, reminds me of  the importance of feeling  included, to be part of something bigger than myself, to identify with something admirable.  When the groups I identify  with disappoint me  or come up short, I am more aware of a longing to be part of something noble, to be a player in a movement that I feel is going to make a difference and or give me the opportunity to stand for something important. I don’t understand exactly the Basque identity she talks about, but I do understand how it feels to be outside the circle I want to be in. Thanks for sharing Marie.


I am a Basque who doesn't speak
Who can never be spotlessly inscribed into
The red, green, and white of the
Basque banner

Who doesn't know the drumbeat
Of a tongue that should be mine

Who should eat with wise voracity Irrintzina──
The sinuous scream of Euskadi
Irrintzina. Euskadi. Basque. Mine.

Who doesn't know the xistu notes
That should glimpse at my soul
And then kiss it and ever so gently
Open her up like a grotto
To the sonorous cadence
Of black consonants and red vowels──
Letters strong and cavernous like a mystery

I have learned three tongues
French that tastes like wine sauce
And Voltairian smiles

Spanish that leaves on my palate
The savor of my Grandfather's name—
English that runs lightly with the fluidity of morning air
For some the language of dollars
For me the water that opened the knot in my throat

Those three wondrous tongues
Are but a distant trinity
And I cannot pray
English. Spanish. French. Not mine.

Basque.  Mine.
But this tongue is tied.

     Marie Jose Fortis

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