Saturday, June 11, 2005

telling

There is so much more to tell.
"Of all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits, drill holes in themselves, and live for their secrets." (York) We all have something we haven't told. Something--I hope--we cannot tell. Something never to be gotten over, that eats at us and eats--even as it defines us in ways that exclude dull eyes. Forget the simple ugliness of dishonesty or ill deeds. Just secrets. Not a bad thing. Or good. It just is, and must be.

How beautiful to live a life with nothing to hide. How meaningful to hide something to preserve its instrinsic beauty.

The beliefs of my parents became beautiful because they said I could only really know for myself. I could not take their word for it. It was a nebulous process. They could hand me the mere facts,(and facts are always mere) but the meaning had to come from me--and it only came by me living the answers. Only when the universe began seeping from my pores could I know.
There are truths that lose their potency in the telling. So poetics struggles to pixilate the ennunciating mouth. "Tell it slant." (Emily again). To explain literally means to flatten out. And truth, like Time, exists in spheres, not straight lines. Even Mary Poppins knew where her power came from: "First I'd like to make one thing quite clear. I never explain anything."

Even so, we crave revelation. And we live to reveal. We treasure that moment when somebody knows us. We heave sighs of relief when at last the big secret is out. We rejoice when the sacred truth is deciphered by some elegant mind. The pressure is let off--but the pressure was because we underestimated our size to contain. We waste time on our knees begging God to tell us everything. "But the answers," (Rilke now) "cannot be given you because you could not LIVE them. And the point is to LIVE EVERYTHING." So we must love the questions, and live along "some distant day" to the answer.

And living is not necessarily telling. It might be the opposite of telling. Explicit as Illicit. Should there be an Interstate to the depths? Should what you see be what you get? Then why is such an abundant percentage of the Universe dedicated to inexplicable dark matter?
It might be the only real irony. We need to tell. We have to know. But knowing and telling are for trudging. Only the wonder and the searching give us the delicate poignancy, the keen edge that cuts enough for us to know we're living. These poles of opposition give us poetry--and anything else worthwhile. We might seek God. But only when we make the search our God do we find.

And this is why written words exceed speech. Only on the page are we really free, because the words remain after our breath is extinguished--living on to explain and not explain and change and not change for every mind that happens.
We are stifled by daily speech--choking on sophistries and empty, inelegant pap--wondering sometimes why the mouth should want to open.
There is magic--eternal magic--in words well chosen. Magic whose residue of waste can be tasted in those poorly chosen. Potential beauty caught between the teeth has a toxic effect, as it inevitably decays over a long nuclear half life. The fumes of it taint and sully the soul.
Yet unfulfilled potential has a certain beauty in itself. It breathes a certain sort of jaded, innocent perfection--but only until touched.
"Touch it, and the bloom is gone" (Wilde). Touch it in a way that burns it into foul exhaust, and who can help but be sick?

So only Silence leaves words yearning forever in perfect, unrealized beauty. The page structures them cleanly--preserves a portion of that perfection as it "creates little silences around things" (Mallarme).

We'll all keep telling--and needing to be told. And from this need much, if not all that is good in this life will flow. A trail of breadcrumbs. Smoke rising from an unseen fire beyond the trees. The echo of our secrets as they ricochet off the wailing wall.

But "who tells a better tale than any of us?" (Dinesen)

"Silence does."

2 Comments:

Blogger Kirstie said...

Those who like to talk a lot (like I find myself doing on a Friday night with my girlfriends), never really tell it all. . . there are not words to really tell it all. That is the mystery or magic, that no one wants to uncover and risk spoiling. p.s.- very impressive references and allusions.

12:44 AM  
Blogger s.k.namanny said...

Poe disagreed with you--ha maintained no situation escapes words. Until he met that certain someone . . .
Then he admitted that he didn't have the words to describe how he felt about her.
(It was Fanny Osgood, by the way, and, most likely, but not certainly, AFTER the death of his unfortunate wife).

An interesting point, kirstie. Some situations elude words, maybe for a good reason.

But don't you agree that most people just blah blah blah?

12:05 PM  

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