Tuesday, November 14, 2006

reading for language and the country that lies behind it

An excerpt from Pamuk's The Black Book:
In the poem's distant golden age, action and the things we kept in our houses were one with our dreams. Those were the happy, happy days when everything we held in our hands--our tools, our cups, our daggers, our pens--was but an extension of our souls. A poet could say tree and everyone who heard him would conjure up the same perfect tree--could see the word and the tree it signified, and the garden the tree signified, and the life the garden signified--without wasting any time on counting the leaves and branches. For words were so close to the things they described that, on mornings when the mist swept down from the mountains into the ghost villages below, poetry mixed with life and words with the objects they signified. No one waking up on misty mornings could tell their dreams apart from reality, or poems apart from life, or names apart from people. No one ever asked if a story was real, because stories were as real as the lives they described. They lived their dreams and interpreted their lives. Those were the days when faces, like everything else in the world, were so laden with meaning that even the illiterate--even the man who could not tell an alpha from a piece of fruit, an a from a hat, or an alif from a stick--could read them with ease.
You can't read it looking for a plot, but who cares?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice passage... finding the right words to describe poetry is like balancing a marble on the tip of your tongue... or something like that.

Poetry is that string in the back of our sub-conscious mind that holds everything together.

11/15/2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger erieblue said...

I love the way this sounds, reading faces, our dreams mixed with our ordinary lives--it sounds wonderful. But maybe it's like ideas of heaven? How dull for me to say tree and the same tree arise in everyone's mind. Can it be that the artist must have complication to be necessary?

11/16/2006 9:47 AM  
Blogger lucette said...

Gabriel--I like the marble simile!
Erie--you'd have to read it in context--I'll lend it to you!

11/18/2006 9:50 AM  

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