Two Tongues Tied

TWO TONGUES TIED

I had often thought of writing poetry myself but getting words to rhyme with each other is difficult, like trying to drive a herd of turkeys and kangaroos down a crowded thoroughfare and keeping them all neatly together without looking in the shop windows. There are so many words, and they all mean something.

I live only here, between your eyes and you, 

But I live in your world. What do I do? 

--Collect no interest--otherwise what I can; 

Above all I am not that staring man.

They have no voices. They are all but paralysed. They can only attract attention by their postures. They don't seem to experience the pangs of an unjustified existence. In any case they wouldn't be able to escape such an obsession by running away, or believe, in the intoxication of speed, they are escaping it. They have no movement other than extension. Their every gesture, thought, perhaps desire, intention, ends up as a monstrous growth, an irremediable outgrowth, of their bodies.

Or rather, which is still worse, there?s nothing monstrous about them. For all their efforts to 'express' themselves, they merely repeat the same expression, the same leaf, a million times. In spring when, tired of restraining themselves, no longer able to hold back, they emit a flood, a vomit of green, they think they're breaking into a polyphonic canticle, bursting out of themselves, reaching out to, embracing, all of nature; in fact they're merely producing thousands of copies of the same note, the same words, the same leaf.

"Speech"- is a prank of Parliament - 

"Tears" - is a trick of the nerve -
But the Heart with the heaviest freight on - 

Doesn't - always - move -

'They can express themselves only by their postures.'
No gestures; they simply multiply their arms, hands, fingers - like buddhas. This is how these sedentary beings carry their thoughts to a logical conclusion. They're no more than a will to expression. They keep nothing to themselves, are incapable of secrets, unfold everything they have, frankly, without restrictions.
Being sedentary they spend their time complicating their own forms, bringing their bodies to an apogee of analytic complexity. Wherever they happen to be born, however sequestered they may be, they're interested only in perfecting their expression: they groom themselves, adorn themselves, and wait for someone to come and read them.
Their only means of attracting attention are postures, lines, now and then an exceptional signal, an extraordinary appeal to our eyes and sense of smell in the form of light bulbs and perfume atomizers that are called flowers and are probably wounds.
This modification of their eternal leaves must mean something.

ONE need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

After this I saw that a splendour white as snow and translucent as crystal had shone around the image of that woman from the top of her head to her throat...And where the splendour shone, which was mixed with purple and blue, it encircled the woman's image with strong ardour. But another splendour, like a white cloud, decently enveloped the image from the navel down, to the point at which it had not yet grown further. And these...splendours around that image shone afar, showing that within her many steps and ladders were well and properly placed.

Many of the people I knew at college left the country in the eighties. The newspapers said that they emigrated for jobs, but most of the ones I knew left because they could not breathe any more. They left because the place did not make sense. They ran away. As, finally, did I.

I had often thought of writing poetry myself but getting words to rhyme with each other is difficult, like trying to drive a herd of turkeys and kangaroos down a crowded thoroughfare and keeping them all neatly together without looking in the shop windows. There are so many words, and they all mean something.

You are to smite upon that thick cloud of unknowing with a sharp dart of longing love, and do not give up for anything


1
Leonora Carrington The Hearing Trumpet Virago Press 1991, P.21
2
To Be Written on the Mirror in Whitewash, Elizabeth Bishop 1937 in Elizabeth Bishop Complete Poems (1991) P.205
3
Fauna and Flora, in Francis Ponge Selected Poems, Faber and Faber 1998 p. 69
4
Emily Dickenson, Poems selected by Ted Hughes, Faber and Faber 2004 p.27
5
Fauna and Flora, in Francis Ponge Selected Poems, Faber and Faber 1998 p. 71
6
Emily Dickenson, Poems selected by Ted Hughes, Faber and Faber 2004 p.26
7
[9] Hildegard of Bingen [12th C.] (1990) Scivias, (trans. Columba Heart and Jane Bishop). New York: Paulist Press, p201: Quoted by Mary Madden (roxywalsh.com)
8
Anne Enright, Making Babies, Vintage 2005
9
Roxy Walsh Better After Death, Wild Pansy Press 1997
10
Anonymous (14th C) The Cloud of Unknowing, ch. 6. In Tarjei Park (1998) The English Mystics: An Anthology. Quoted by Mary Madden (roxywalsh.com)