Search for My Tongue

Inspired to capture the photo below after reading Sujata Bhatt's poem Search for My Tongue - I feel as though my mother tongues are such a big part of me, although I also feel like i'm letting myself down when the words in my head do not translate to my mouth. I want to speak to my family in my mother tongue, interact with my languages, and feel, in turn, like I know my Self better. Read the full poem below.

Shout out to all the bilingual beings holding on. 


Search For My Tongue

"You ask me what I mean
by saying I have lost my tongue. 
I ask you, what would you do
if you had two tongues in your mouth, 
and lost the first one, the mother tongue, 
and could not really know the other, 
the foreign tongue. 
You could not use them both together
even if you thought that way.
And if you lived in a place you had to
speak a foreign tongue, 
your mother tongue would rot, 
rot and die in your mouth
until you had to “spit it out.” 
I thought I spit it out
but over night while I dream,

(munay hutoo kay aakhee jeebh aakhee bhasha) 
(may thoonky nakhi chay) 
(parantoo rattray svupnama mari bhasha pachi aavay chay) 
(foolnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh) 
(modhama kheelay chay) 
(fullnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh) 
(modham pakay chay)

it grows back, a stump of a shoot
grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins, 
it ties the other tongue in knots, 
the bud opens, the bud opens in my mouth, 
it pushes the other tongue aside. 
Everytime I think I’ve forgotten, 
I think I’ve lost the mother tongue, 
it blossoms out of my mouth."

Sujata Bhatt