[ilds] Tree of Idleness -- lips

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sun Jul 22 14:00:15 PDT 2007


On 7/22/2007 4:48 PM, william godshalk wrote:

> But the poem reads: "a poem imploring / Silence of lips and minds 
> which have not spoken." Is the imploring poem a reference to the poem 
> we are reading? Perhaps the poem is imploring the proper attention and 
> response from its readers. Stop grasping after certainties and learn 
> to obey the voice of the silence. Om shanti om.

>>     No: the card-players in tabs of shade
>>     Will play on: the aerial springs
>>     Hiss: in bed lying quiet under kisses
>>     Without signature, with all my debts unpaid
>>
>>     I shall recall nights of squinting rain,
>>     Like pig-iron on the hills: bruised
>>     Landscapes of drumming cloud and everywhere
>>     The lack of someone spreading like a stain.
>>
>>     Or where *brown fingers* in the darkness move,
>>     Before the early shepherds have awoken,
>>     Tap out on sleeping lips with these same
>>     Worn typewriter keys a poem imploring
>>
>>     Silence of lips and minds which have not spoken.
>
I have felt for a long time that I am witnessing the typing of the poem, 
which is something like a note addressed to reading lips unseen and 
unheard at the time of the poem's rendering on to a paper sheet.  "The 
lack of someone spreading like a stain" also recalls the staining of the 
sheets of paper by the black signatures of the typewriter's keys.  In 
the first order there is the missing reader who occasions but never gets 
the letter--the missing lover, I think.  Then there are the readers (all 
of us) who come to witness in aftermath.

But admittedly that reading is influenced by the biography and by the 
place of letters in the /Quartet/--Darley's letters and Clea's 
unanswered letters.  "Silence" was our last topic in /Justine/. 

C&c.

-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
**********************

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