Hubris is hard to own in its breaking down
to a simplicity of matter, as if cells were stones,
small ones, collectively tall enough to threaten heaven
and make gods nervous.
After falling I stack, borrowed piece by borrowed piece
a remembered me, self-made without blueprints.
I use the words my mother taught:
shoe, leather, cup, mouth. It is not the sound
or the thing that’s misspoken;
it is the combination of need and tongue,
air and want that is not understood.
How else explain
why I am always translating myself
into common language?
So, I just finished Donald Hall’s essay “Goatfoot, Milktongue and Twinbird” and first I found Twinbird in Mark Redford’s latest and now I find Milktongue in this…
“it is the combination of need and tongue,
air and want that is not understood.”
“His small toungue curls around the sounds, the way his tongue warms with the tiny thread of milk that he pulls from his mother. This is Milktongue, and in poetry it is the deep and primitive pleasure of vowels in the mouth, of assonance and of holds on long adjacent vowels; of consonance, mmmm, and alliteration.”
Couldn’t help but share. Can’t get Hall’s book anymore, I don’t think, but I found this essay in “A Field Guide to Contemporary Poetry and Poetics”–Great Book!
Oh, JCC, PLEASE, PLEASE share gems like these. Loved the passage so much. I might have to cruise used bookstores for a copy. I am taking my editor’s suggestion and tweaking the first stanza.
Don’t know if you do Amazon, but that’s where I found it:
Oh, I “do” Amazon more than I do my husband 😉 … By which I mean we have a more communicative relationship, heh, heh.
Wonderful, and thanks!
… ‘er … ‘common language’? I think not 😀
Polly, you are too sweet 😉
you inspire me…
Yay! Can’t wait to see what you do!
This is so relevant and to me, a perfect poem for most poets! Applause !
DEbbie, you are a sweetheart–thank you so much for your comments.
Nice… and I can’t help but wonder why I’m always trying to translate myself to me.
You do that too?
My whole life. Perhaps the first perk of afterlife is answering ‘WTF was I thinking?’
Hahaha–you have quite the salient point there, Nelle.