Posts Tagged ‘birth and death’


what language did

one day life came into our earth.  how it was
before nobody knows.  no one spoke and for
all we know, for all we don’t know, it was dark.
no water moved.
because of life, smoke began to weave.  it spun
itself into twine, twisting silent thought.  flames
arose upon new feet, began to dance.  moon
observed a waking wind, spoke, said to sun,
let them see!  so brightness rained from the sky.
life inhaled.
yet no stories were being told.  nothing really
made any sense at all.  so then language
decided to take on life.  dust began to whisper
shadows, then seek the spaces between all
things such that connections might embrace.
awareness took root.
rocks joined in, became a chorus.  clouds
began to sing about the sky the water the land.
water pronounced a willingness to fall, so faith
began.  then worms and leaves.  then limbs
and four-legged beasts with mouths to eat,
growing and falling apart.  words piled up
like crisp autumn leaves close underfoot.
words began to move.
then men, then women, so that all those
stories might be harvested and given birth
and given death.  like all real stories must.
appreciation became a smile upon the lips
of men.  every story mattered, no matter
the voice.  so quite unexpectedly thus did
listening come into the world.


neil reid © may 2012

A lovely clumsy draft? But I don’t care. (guilty pleasure?) Since first reading Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Gilgamesh, a desire began. Then more recently, the amazing work of Eduardo Galeano and his Genesis, Memory of Fire Trilogy. (clearly I’m way beyond my depth, splashing as best as I can)

While I’m rather lack “classic” leanings, something about these lyric mythic voices sounded and tasted right to me. So something to play with here; a stumbling step, but how else to begin?

And how dare one of casual accord approach such myth? I’m no student that way. Yet too, where do any myths begin? They represent our understanding of experience, so we, any of us, do qualify. Nothing carved in rock. Mostly I just wanted to approach that lyric voice, so this result. Worth more more engaging with I think.

And credit due, I love and borrowed Galeano’s phrase, language decided to take on life. Wonderful.

PS. REVISION, replaced “gathered” with “harvested” in the last stanza. Re-reading it was just obviously better, so much better. 05-12 neil

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