I like that you tried to explain.
I get that you couldn’t quite. Have you read Jack Gilbert’s “The forgotten Dialect of the Heart?” It helps when I am stymied behind language a little…anyway,
your post was a gorgeous, whole-hearted rumination to start my morning, and I thank you. Natalie
Thanks Natalie. I’m going to go track that book down now. Or maybe you have a copy to loan? 🙂
I do have a copy to lend as soon as it’s released from the hands of the avidly bathing friend who has fallen in love with it…
I’m pasting the poem in here, and want to say, I think you should find someone to read it to you, and you should close your eyes while they do.
The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart by Jack Gilbert
How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient tongue
has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind’s labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not a language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses and birds.
From: The Great Fires, Poems 1982-1992, Knopf, 2005