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
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
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.