Monday, 17 October 2011

THE JUNGLE OF SPEECH

COMMENT:

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE WARNEFORD*

Speech
reaches out
to whisper and shout,
praise and curse,
across a silent universe;
making of molecular vibration
a means of human communication.

It wasn’t always quite like this;
the groans
and moans,
the hiss
and howls
in the warm pre-Cambrian mud
were eloquent enough avowals
of love and hatred, fear and blood.

Even now,
it isn’t always quite the same;
the grunts and lowing
of pig and cow
in farmyard barn and shed
make no poetic claim
but express the cosmic suffering
of the living and the dead.

When fragile humankind
comes here to peer,
through spiralling downwards mind,
into thorny jungles of raw sensation,
it loses its clear articulation;
the fine distinction
of the human word
is dislocated and blurred
into jabbering of animal and bird.



* Warneford Hospital, formerly Warneford Lunatic Asylum, two and a half miles east of Oxford city centre where the professional and middle classes, including senior and junior members of the University, came (come) when they could no longer cope with the lives they had created for themselves.


NEW PROJECT:
"Hey Sinner Man,
Where you gonna run to?
Hey there Sinner Man
Where you gonna run to?
Hey Sinner Man
Where you gonna run to
All on that Day?"