Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Making Words Magic Again, in a Hall of Mirrors

"To make words like magic again, we forget what they mean. Say any one of them over and over again so that it is just a sound thrumming inside you, drilling its emptiness into your soul. Sentences as sounds precede their sense as purpose. It seems to be only the human beings who name things. The people. The place. The not-human. The voice. The change. Accident or design? The world is still the same and not the same. It is language that wants it to be one or the other. The name must hold. And the thing is gone as soon as we have identified it. Left with only the name, we hold empty words. These incantations and syllables swirl around the elusive subjects of reality. If only words could be more than words! Trap any one of them in a corridor of parallel mirrors, and the single name immediately echoes to infinity. Inside the scale of that sound is a region of magic, where what is awesome pushes through the confines of reason."
—David Rothenberg, Wild Ideas, 1995, p. 140

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