Thursday, July 23, 2009

Within the Realm of Possibility

Cassiano Ricardo (trans. Barbara Howes)

Friends, I sang as a bird sings
at daybreak. In full agreement
with one single world.
But how could one live in a world
where things had a single name?

Then, I made up words.
And words perched, warbling, on the head
of objects.

Reality, thus, came to have
as many heads as words.

And when I tried to express sadness and joy
words settled upon me, obedient
to my slightest lyrical gesture.

Now I must be mute.
I am sincere only when I am silent.

So, only when I am silent
do they settle upon me—words—
a flock of birds in a tree
at nightfall.

Though language always exists in tension with what is unspeakable, poetry and psychoanalysis concern themselves essentially with what thrives within this tension, centrally the possibly-spoken. Within this realm, meanings press toward and against language, the essential (soul, unconscious, spirit-nature, etc.) a trickster which regards speaking with appropriate wariness.