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Strange Messenger
by Michelle Dockrey & Tony Fabris

      Vocal: Michelle Dockrey
      Guitars & Bass: Tony Fabris
      Percussion: Maya Bohnhoff

He was exploring South America, the first to venture there
In an age of change and reason, new discoveries everywhere
Along the Orinoco, the great river corridor
He heard tell of a people who had fled a tribal war

It was said they chose seclusion over death or life as slaves
But in their sheltered grotto, he found only simple graves
And one brightly colored messenger, whom no one understood
Spoke the language of a people who had disappeared for good

So tell me, bold explorer, as you wandered through the leaves,
Did you ponder unknown losses that the very Cosmos grieves?
Was it halting? Was it flowing? Was it lilting and divine?
Was it fearless as your native tongue, mercurial as mine?
Would it pique a linguist's interest? Would it hold a poet's thrall?
Did the words of one strange messenger tell you anything at all?

He kept a careful chronicle, transcribing what he heard
Of the tribe's entire language, there remained just forty words
Complexity and structure, how it tastes and how it sings
Time devoured all but scattered words for scattered things

And can we archaeologists, with bits of sound like runes
Ever paint a living portrait of a people in their tombs?
Could we somehow come to know them? Will we ever even try?
Sifting through linguistic ruins for the clues to how and why

So tell me, bold explorer, as you wandered through the leaves,
Did you ponder unknown losses that the very Cosmos grieves?
Was it halting? Was it flowing? Was it lilting and divine?
Was it fearless as your native tongue, mercurial as mine?
Would it pique a linguist's interest? Would it hold a poet's thrall?
Do the words of one strange messenger tell us anything at all?

To those who study history, it seems a bitter curse
The loss of language terrible, the lost potential worse
Past and future stories multiplied a thousandfold,
Vanished out of history and never to be toldWere they beautiful and gentle? Would they call us friend or foe?
What wisdom did they live by? What secrets did they know?
It's a symphony reduced to what a single bird can sing
The forest lost their language, and they lost everything

So tell me, bold explorer, as you wandered through the leaves,
Did you ponder unknown losses that the very Cosmos grieves?
Was it halting? Was it flowing? Was it lilting and divine?
Was it fearless as your native tongue, mercurial as mine?
Would it pique a linguist's interest? Would it hold a poet's thrall?
Do the words of one strange messenger tell us anything at all?