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The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart Analysis

Author: poem of Jack Gilbert Type: poem Views: 17

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How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,

and frightening that it does not quite.  Love, we say,

God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words

get it all wrong.  We say bread and it means according

to which nation.  French has no word for home,

and we have no word for strict pleasure.  A people

in northern India is dying out because their ancient

tongue has no words for endearment.  I dream of lost

vocabularies that might express some of what

we no longer can.  Maybe the Etruscan texts would

finally explain why the couples on their tombs

are smiling.  And maybe not.  When the thousands

of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,

they seemed to be business records.  But what if they

are poems or psalms?  My joy is the same as twelve

Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.

O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,

as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.

Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts

of long-fibered Egyptian cotton.  My love is a hundred

pitchers of honey.  Shiploads of thuya are what

my body wants to say to your body.  Giraffes are this

desire in the dark.  Perhaps the spiral Minoan script

is not laguage but a map.  What we feel most has

no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.

Anonymous submission.


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