Friday, June 23, 2006

from Tomaz Salamun's "Little Fears"

"Language is the savior of love, of flowers,
of mankind and the instrument of God himself."

3 comments:

revgrant said...

HUMMM, not to be too discursive and literal, but I wonder from what or for what is language saving love? Distortion, limits of being perceived by the beloved, or maybe it is a claim of what poetry achieves (and not saving from but a saving for)? And language is the savior of mankind...yes there's the Word made flesh in the mix of allusions there, and I suspect a claim for poetics as well. As a 'savior' though it is also an incredibly two-edged sword, with language also as a source of hate-speech, abuse, demagogues. OK, probably trying too hard now to plumb these depths.

Matt said...

Revgrant, Not to be too reductive, but in the words of Wittgenstein,--"the limits of my language are the limits of my world." I think Salamun's meaning is something closer to your second idea i.e. the Word made flesh, the Word made brick or beauty or a tugboat, etc. But it's also the notion of language -- its use -- as an inherently creative/constructive activity. Your point that language is also the source of much that's awful/hurtful in the world is well taken, but of course that would be a particular kind of mis-use of language (an unethical, rather than a poetic one, let's say)(poetry is itself a mis-use of ordinary language to create aesthetic effects, but not necessarily -- I would say not usually -- an unethical one). In any case, the idea that language is the instrument of god (however one might define god) is the idea that language has the potential to save us from the chaos and senselessness of being...

Urileye said...

I thought god was the instrument

;)