Lipiu Revisited

By skiour / Posted on 28 October 2010

Silence is the language of Lipiu


As with love
poems are born
in silence
only that unfeeling silence
has a habit
of giving birth
and swallowing its young.

In Lipiu you study silence
as if it were a foreign language
if you practice enough
you can tell the dialect
of day from the heavy accent
of night.
You learn the birds by heart
and the light that alters
the meaning of nothing.
You will never be able
to express yourself freely in this language
but you will always be surprised by its truth.
You read the trees, the mountains in the original.
You ask: What do I have to say in this language?
The wounded animal deep inside you doesn’t answer.
It remains silent.

Today the rain broke out
in a flood of incomprehensible curses.
On the TV screen humans
move around without sound:
bodies, smiles, embraces,
handshakes, the tying of ties, punches…
I couldn’t hear the words
and the bureaucracy of existence
seemed absurd.
Why, why him, the sweet, absent-minded one?
With what does passion agree?
It seems I have forgotten the syntax of youth.

In the taverna garden
it is spring and the blossoming
chestnut trees lean attentively
over the pensioners.
Beards, mustaches, all white,
a little laughter in their faded
blue eyes peeking out behind the beer froth
the slender waitress
like a doll just out of her box
with the divine department store tag
still around her neck.
The brown spots on the old men’s hands
—maps of an unknown geography—
the flowers scattered by the wind
on the wooden table
and suddenly I understood silence:
it is the womb of all languages.

It is the language of the beginning,
of the question when you search for the phrase
of leaves and you ask yourself what’s the use
of so many daybreaks, so many breaths
so many cries smothered in the grass
what is this life for, how will I open the door?
Will I be accepted? How do I take
the first step in the rain alone
toward the first meeting
with the savior-destroyer?
Even the most beautiful imagination is useless
in the face of a pile of days
a shapeless pile, with no scent and no known meaning.

But silence is also
the mother tongue of the end
when you try to read the word EXIT
written in the darkness with tar
over a gate or maybe it’s a burrow? A hole?
Are you going to emerge in pain

or triumphantly
or will you have become a baby again,
carefree, sucking the breast-
clouds of the day?

By Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke





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