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Common Language

Common Language
Sophie Nock

The music is all that connects them.
So many languages: the people setting up tents,
handing out blankets,
offering beds to spend the night in;
all quick vowels and flowing consonants.
Then the Red Cross volunteers
in crisp English, the sounds both long
and short or somewhere
in between; some accents thick,
others barely there at all.
The refugees themselves have a smooth tongue,
the one most common here.

No-one understands the people they are talking to,
taking help from, giving aid to.
But the music connects them,
the way only music can:
a commonality.
Everyone knows the great composers:
Mozart, Bach and Beethoven.
Chopin and Debussy.
Their music blankets the listeners
in a familiar comfort;
languages cease to matter
when it’s only the piano they can hear.