Walter Savage Landor
Death stands above me, whispering low
I know not what into my ear:
Of his strange language all I know
Is, there is not a word of fear.
There was an Old Lady of Prague,
Whose language was horribly vague;
When they said, "Are these caps?" she answered, "Perhaps!"
That oracular Lady of Prague.
James Lee Jobe
Quiet! Today the earth tells me, be quiet.
Ssh! No talking now. Our soul
is listening to tiny things, almost silent.
This is a language that you feel.
Our soul, says the earth, hears every little sound.
William Butler Yeats
I turn round
Like a dumb beast in a show.
Neither know what I am
Nor where I go,
My language beaten
Into one name;
I am in love
And that is my shame.
What hurts the soul
My soul adores,
No better than a beast
Upon all fours.
Praise to God from all nations.
O all ye nations, praise the Lord,
Each with a diff'rent tongue;
In every language learn his word,
And let his name be sung.
His mercy reigns through every land;
Proclaim his grace abroad;
For ever firm his truth shall stand
Praise ye the faithful God.
Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.
Even this fool of a body
lives it in part, and would
have full dignity within it
but for the ignorant freedom
of my talking mind.
XLIX. — TO PLAYWRIGHT.
PLAYWRIGHT me reads, and still my verses damns,
He says I want the tongue of epigrams ;
I have no salt, no bawdry he doth mean ;
For witty, in his language, is obscene.
Playwright, I loath to have thy manners known
In my chaste book ; I profess them in thine own.
Rainer Maria Rilke
The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
in the ponds broken off from the sky
my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What care I, so they stand the same,—
Things of the heavenly mind,—
How long the power to give them fame
Tarries yet behind?
Thus far to-day your favors reach,
O fair, appeasing Presences!
Ye taught my lips a single speech,
And a thousand silences.
Space grants beyond his fated road
No inch to the god of day,
And copious language still bestowed
One word, no more, to say.
Born from the natural attraction
Of vowels and consonants
Alliterating or merging into a fugue
Of sounds flowing
From the fountain of language.
In blasts of thunder, chirping, blowing;
Sounds becoming meanings
In, for, and of themselves;
A huge dictionary of sounds
Craving to be recognized and translated
Either into language or into understanding.
Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters - Hamilton Greene
I was the only child of Frances Harris of Virginia
And Thomas Greene of Kentucky,
Of valiant and honorable blood both.
To them I owe all that I became,
Judge, member of Congress, leader in the State.
From my mother I inherited
Vivacity, fancy, language;
From my father will, judgment, logic.
All honor to them
For what service I was to the people!
Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?
A Word made Flesh is seldom
And tremblingly partook
Nor then perhaps reported
But have I not mistook
Each one of us has tasted
With ecstasies of stealth
The very food debated
To our specific strength --
A Word that breathes distinctly
Has not the power to die
Cohesive as the Spirit
It may expire if He --
"Made Flesh and dwelt among us"
Could condescension be
Like this consent of Language
This loved Philology.
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold;
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.
We think of hidden in a white dress
among the folded linens and sachets
of well-kept cupboards, or just out of sight
sending jellies and notes with no address
to all the wondering Amherst neighbors.
Eccentric as New England weather
the stiff wind of her mind, stinging or gentle,
blew two half imagined lovers off.
Yet legend won't explain the sheer sanity
of vision, the serious mischief
of language, the economy of pain.
Our whole life a translation
the permissible fibs
and now a knot of lies
eating at itself to get undone
Words bitten thru words
meanings burnt-off like paint
under the blowtorch
All those dead letters
rendered into the oppressor's language
Trying to tell the doctor where it hurts
like the Algerian
who waled form his village, burning
his whole body a could of pain
and there are no words for this
It has happened suddenly,
by surprise, in an arbor,
or while drinking good coffee,
after speaking, or before,
that I dumbly inhabit
a density; in language,
there is nothing to stop it,
for nothing retains an edge.
Simple ignorance presents,
later, words for a function,
but it is common pretense
of speech, by a convention,
and there is nothing at all
but inner silence, nothing
to relieve on principle
now this intense thickening.
Donne, the delight of Phoebus and each Muse
Who, to thy one, all other brains refuse;
Whose every work of thy most early wit
Came forth example, and remains so yet;
Longer a-knowing than most wits do live;
And which no affection praise enough can give!
To it, thy language, letters, arts, best life,
Which might with half mankind maintain a strife.
All which I meant to praise, and yet I would;
But leave, because I cannot as I should!
It was not necessary to study
of a strange country;
anyway, it would be of no help.
It was not necessary to know
where Italy or England
travel was obviously
out of question.
It was not necessary to live
among the wild beasts
of Noah's ark,
which had just devoured
the last dove of peace,
along with Noah
and his virtuous family.
It was not necessary to strive
for some holy land
awash in milk and honey,
according to rumor.
They mouth love's language. Gnash
The thirteen teeth
Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh.
Love's breath in you is stale, worded or sung,
As sour as cat's breath,
Harsh of tongue.
This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone.
Leave greasy lips their kissing. None
Will choose her what you see to mouth upon.
Dire hunger holds his hour.
Pluck forth your heart, saltblood, a fruit of tears.
Pluck and devour!
'This job's the best I've done.' He bent his head
Over the golden vessel that he'd wrought.
A bird was singing. But the craftsman's thought
Is a forgotten language, lost and dead.
He sighed and stretch'd brown arms. His friend came in
And stood beside him in the morning sun.
The goldwork glitter'd.... 'That's the best I've done.
'And now I've got a necklace to begin.'
This was at Gnossos, in the isle of Crete...
A girl was selling flowers along the street.
Many a phrase has the English language --
I have heard but one --
Low as the laughter of the Cricket,
Loud, as the Thunder's Tongue --
Murmuring, like old Caspian Choirs,
When the Tide's a' lull --
Saying itself in new inflection --
Like a Whippoorwill --
Breaking in bright Orthography
On my simple sleep --
Thundering its Prospective --
Till I stir, and weep --
Not for the Sorrow, done me --
But the push of Joy --
Say it again, Saxton!
Hush -- Only to me!
Two Travellers perishing in Snow
The Forests as they froze
Together heard them strengthening
Each other with the words
That Heaven if Heaven -- must contain
What Either left behind
And then the cheer too solemn grew
For language, and the wind
Long steps across the features took
That Love had touched the Morn
With reverential Hyacinth --
The taleless Days went on
Till Mystery impatient drew
And those They left behind
Led absent, were procured of Heaven
As Those first furnished, said --