On Poetry?

Poetry remembers that language is shaped air; it remembers ashes to ashes, dust to dust, wind to wind; it knows we don’t own what we know.It knows the world is, after all, unnameable, so it listens hard before it speaks, and wraps that listening into the linguistic act. ~ Don McKay


I came across this lovely evocation in Robert Bringhurst’s book “Everywhere Being is Dancing”. I find something completely profound in this little snippet…Bringhurst goes on to write about it for several hundred more pages, bringing in other themes and uniting the whole in quite a staggering way. Meanwhile, I remain immersed in the idea of wrapping listening into language…

And here is the Chinese character for listening: on the left, the sign for ears, while on the right, from top to bottom, the signs for eyes, full attention, and heart. What a beautiful visual metaphor for the engagement of listening.

And that is what I have been doing, my imaginary friend, listening to the sounds of the world and pondering the ineffable beauties of poetry.