Posts tagged ‘they say’

Monday, 19 November 2018

War on Language by Marian Spires

They say:
Truth is the first casualty of war
but
they are wrong
it is Language

Language goes AWOL when the first shot is fired

Language is packing its bags
it’s heading for the border
looking over its shoulder
nervously checking its papers
will it pass go or
be monopolised
compromised again

Language is waiting in transit
hiding in the hold of a leaking ship
anxious to leave the violence behind
Language knows it will be tortured
if it returns home ˆ it can never return home
Language will risk word smugglers

Language is a refugee
made illegal by circumstance
Language is being detained behind a cyclone fence
it is being held against its will

Language doesn’t know who it can trust anymore
it was rescued and escaped in a mini-bus
then left to fend for itself in a desert of concerned onlookers
all holding remote controls and ready to switch channels

Language has a secret
It knows how quickly
a disturbance becomes an intervention
how overnight it can change from
a local police action
to a global reaction
to first strike and zero tolerance

There is a war on Language.

From: http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/34081/20060904-0000/www.poetsunion.com/PoemsAboutWar.html#JudithRodriguez

Date: 2003

By: Marian Spire (19??- )

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Excerpt from “The Anchor’s Long Chain” by Yves Bonnefoy

They say
Boats appear in the sky
And from some of them
The anchor’s long chain may rattle down,
Down towards our furtive land.
The anchor bobs over our fields and trees
Seeking a place to moor,
But soon a wish from above yanks it free;
The ship of elsewhere has no use for here,
Its horizon lies in another dream.

It may however come to pass
That the anchor is heavy, unusually so,
And rakes the ground, rumpling the trees.
Someone saw it snag a church door,
Catch the arch where our hope fades,
And a sailor shinned down
The taut, jerking chain,
And freed his heaven from our night.
Such anguish as he toiled against the vault
Both hands grappling with his strange iron—
Why must
Something within us lure our minds
In this crossing our words attempt
All unknowing, towards the other shore?

From: http://seagull-books.tumblr.com/post/133585670356/extract-the-anchors-long-chain-by-yves

Date: 2008 (original in French); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Yves Bonnefoy (1923- )

Translated by: Beverley Bie Brahic (19??- )