“Never let them tell you that silence isn’t beautiful”

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“I read her eyes like paragraphs

And her tears like chapters,

For she didn’t have much to say,

With words,

But rather,

Silence.

And never let them tell you,

That silence,

Isn’t beautiful.

For silence is what happens,

When words fall asleep

And you must carry,

The belief,

That one day,

They will,

Wake up,

Inside of you.”

Words by Christopher Poindexter.

Artwork by Daniela Hallgren.

 

The Miracles of Blogging

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One of the things that continues to amaze me about blogging is how a post written almost a year ago, can suddenly jump back up and find itself with a whole new audience of readers.

This has happened today with my post http://seventhvoice.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/dog-fox-field-the-history-lesson-behind-australian-poet-les-murrays-powerful-poem-on-disability/

I do not know who has picked up this post and twittered it out into the digital universe  once again for all to share but I am grateful to whom ever did so.

To me;

It is one of the miracles of blogging,

That words,

Penned so long ago,

Can still reach out,

And speak in the present,

To the minds of others.

To whom ever breathed new life into this post,

Thank you.

Welcome to Why

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In  the beginning it was just a game.

A silly little game of solitude that I played all on my own.

Until one day, it jumped up and took over my thoughts, in the wink of an eye.

I know, for it was my own eye, that winked it in.

You see, I love words, or rather I did, back when they were whole beings that orbited the planet of my thoughts.

They would fall off my tongue and fill the silence all about me with their pleasing tones and meanings.

Then why came along and I found myself struggling just to hold its tail.

I started saying the word why, over and over.

Again and again.

Just like any word when you  say it too many times, it stops being that word.

Its letters melt into each other until the sound of it no longer sits correctly on your tongue.

So foreign does the sound of it become to you, that you even begin to question whether or not you are even saying it properly.

Then along with the melting of letters and the dislocation of a words sound, comes the disintegration of its  meaning.

It no longer sounds the same, looks the same or even portrays the same ideal that it once held, back when you said it only once and knew, just knew, the nature of the word and all of its derivatives.

Well why is like that.

I started asking why?

Why this?

Why that?

Then I found I couldn’t stop.

Too late I realized my own mistake as all  of the answers I once smugly thought I knew tumbled out of the sky and rained down on me in a stream of incomprehensible noise.

I know it sounds absurd to say that you have been drowned by a lack of meaning, but there it is, that is what has happened to me.

The more I asked, the less I understood.

The less I understood the more I asked.

It has  become a disease in me.

This constant need to know WHY has stolen from me all of my once strongly held truths.

You see all that I am, or have ever been, was being pulled agonizingly apart in a string of whys?

So far apart that I found I no longer knew myself to be the person  I’d thought myself to be.

You see this endless asking has led me to a barren place.

A place in which the oasis of understanding  lies shimmering,  in the distance, leading me ever on, further away from myself and deeper into the desert of the unknown.

Too Many Words

Too many words,

Written in haste,

Serve to castigate,

Denigrate,

And differentiate,

The abberent form,

Too many words,

Seek to define,

And divide,

Our shared humanness,

As if Disability and Ability,

Were issues separated,

One from the other,

In some seemingly distant,

Mysteriously held,

Genetic planet.

This constant search,

For an un-caused effect,

Ceaselessly runs through my universe,

Without pausing once to consider,

The processes of due care,

Or  the consequences,

Of  un-scripting nature,

With  such reckless,

Discontent.

 

Language Of The Soul

A poet’s words,

Are not just written,

They are an inscribed,

Razored calligraphy,

That enters the skin,

Allowing words,

To be worn forever,

From the outside,

In.

 

Word Hugs

Don’t you just love the way a good book can embrace you. Take you in and carry you far, far, away, from the worries of the every day, or reflect some essential truth, hidden in the mist of  daily being?

Words can hug you,

Holding you joyously captive,

Before gently releasing you,

Back into the ebb and flow of life,

Adding always some fresh ingredient,

To the heady worldly  mix,

Of thoughts and feelings,

That eternally surround you.

Words can become life rafts,

Keeping you afloat,

In the ocean of emotions,

That can sometimes threaten,

To drag you under.

Words can hold and hug you,

Keeping you warm and safe,

Becoming a source of nutrients,

Especially when the world outside,

Removes  all semblance,

Of  its grace.

I love finding  authors whose words somehow, always, make you feel as if you are coming home. No matter what the genre. Here are a few authors that always hold me in their words Jane Austen, Mary Shelley,  Virginia Wolf,  Jeanette Winterson, Jenny Diski,   Jodi Picoult, Maeve Binchey,  Stephen Donaldson, Tess Gerritsen, Karen Rose and Karin Slaughter ….. the list quite simply could go on and on…..

Which authors words reach out and hug you?

 

Perfect Mouth

I used to have a perfect mouth,

Until I lied,

I used to know what words

were for,

Till I got tangled up in  a why.  

Words used to fall off my tongue,

Filling the silences all about me

With their pleasing tones and meanings. 

Then why came along and I found myself caught,

Between  its letters.

And hung out to dry,

Such a small word,

For everything,

In my life,

That continues to remain,

Unanswered

I’ve spent days gathering up the fragmented shards,

Of my world after why,

I’ve spent months just trying to find me.

But the broken humps of the M,

and the twisted curve of the E,

Still refuse to comply,

With my cravings.

For the straight,

Sleek lines,

Of the past,

Quite simply,

The me I once knew is  now gone.

Pulled along in a string of ‘Why’s’,

Till all that is left,

Holds no meaning,

Even after the makings of myself,

Have been found,

And reassembled.

On The Learning Curve

Original Art Work by M.Slater

I love my 12 year old daughter. She’s the most unique and fully observant  child I’ve ever  known,   and even though our lives together can occasionally seem like a string  of mismatched misunderstandings,  we none the less have an absolute ball trying to decipher the social world around us.

Yesterday we were discussing  some issues she’d been experiencing  “fitting in” at school.

We’d whittled down the broader issues of my daughter “feeling  out of place” and  her  overwhelming sensation that certain girls around her were “ghosts making annoying back ground noise with their talk”,  to one significant problem.

She never felt as if she understood whether the girls around her were being nice or, as she put it, ” being  sincerely nicely mean”.

So as much as possible, to avoid her own sense of confusion over this,  she’d begun to  try and block them out.  Hence her ghost girls analogy.

Original Art Work by M. Slater

Now the inability to understand the intentions behind other people’s comments is something  that  I also struggle with from time to time . So I told her to try a trick that I use when all else fails.

 If someone says something that I can’t make sense of or simply can’t interpret, I’ll  to ask them if they can explain to me, exactly what it is they meant by their comment.

After giving her this advice my daughter  replied,

‘Well mum, no offense and all but, I don’t think I want to do that then.’

Why?

‘ I just…..I don’t want people to think that spending time with me is “too much like hard work.”

‘Why on earth would you think that people would think that?’

‘Because that’s what ‘Sophie’s mother says about you’.

OK. So maybe my strategies for deciphering this world  do sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

None the less , I love the way that  my daughter ‘s  words and actions  gently remind me that, even though I’m her mother, I am still working my way along the same learning curve that she is. And that’s OK.

What do your children teach you?

 

Words From the Playground and Other Places (2)

My love of words has always been there. I was early to talk early to read. My family never understood my love of words. They actively discouraged it in fact. I became known as the bookworm and scorned and laughed at by my cousins, Aunts and Uncles. In my part of town words were a medium best left to the enlightened ones. Ours was a family designed for working not reading. Big strong men who could strip an engine down in five minutes had no need of words at all. Mothers who cooked from memory never needed the comfort of a recipe book and washing hardly needed instruction.

I was forever being told. ‘Put that book down…’ ‘Go out and play…’ ‘Why can’t you be like the other kids?’ In contrast to my family  the words I read in books welcomed me into their world. They made no judgements as they gathered me up and carried me away. It was as if they were telling me, in their hushed, whispered tones, ‘you don’t belong to these people, it is all a mistake. You belong to someone else. A mix up at the hospital, the wrong baby sent home with the wrong family.’

I became convinced that this was the truth of the matter. I did not belong with the people who haunted my family’s home, or the children around me at school. So alien did my parents appear to me that I began to think of them as pseudo parents. Not real. Fake. Worse still, the thought occurred to me, that if I were meant for another family, then some other child now had the life that should have been mine.

At school I would ask my teachers why the words in a book were so thin yet their meanings so solid? My teachers would stare at me or send me to the corner for being ‘silly’. One told me she wasn’t being paid enough to deal with me. I assumed that a child who wanted to learn must for some reason cost more.

My class mates only ever seemed to see me as a goody two shoes who threatened their chances of being chosen for the important position of lunch monitor. I had no desire to be a lunch monitor. Who wants to sit counting out ragged strings of five-cent pieces into a conforming dollar when there are words to be read and meanings to be digested? I had decided that the only thing money was good for was buying books and lollies. Even there I was mistaken and I think this is when some of it might have begun.

We were having a class party at school. I can’t remember why. My pseudo mother had filled a large Tupperware container with butterfly cakes and shoved them into my hands that morning to take. I didn’t really care too much for my class or it’s parties. I didn’t like butterfly cakes either. So on the way to school I spent my lunch money on the biggest bag of malt chew lollies I could buy. They were all I wanted and my mind filled with bliss as I ran my hands over their waxy wrappers, chewing happily whilst hiding them in the bottom of my school bag.

I entered the classroom and put my bag in the cloak room. A strange name for a room whose primary function was to hold bags not cloaks. Why wasn’t it called a bag room? I took out the Tupperware container and handed it to the teacher. She placed it on a table filled with more things I didn’t want to eat.

I saw some boys jostling each other near my bag. It was then that I started to worry about my lollies. There’d been a few incidences of bags being stolen at school. I stood up from my seat and went to check on my lollies. They were there but I wanted them safe. I gave them to my teacher and asked her to lock them in her desk drawer. She looked at me in a strange way. As if I were asking her to eat snakes. She took my bag of lollies, holding them away from her and pinching the bag only at the corners. I wanted to yell at her to be careful in case they should fall. Didn’t she understand what was in there?

All morning I could think of nothing but those lollies. I wanted to touch them again. To feel their wrappers. I wondered how they were made. Did they have a machine or were there hundreds of people somewhere wrapping those little squares by hand? I could feel the desire to chew building in my jaw. I crunched on pencil but it wasn’t the same.

Finally at 12.00 the bell rang and we were instructed to go out and play for 15 minutes and to make sure that we used our time wisely by going to the bathroom as well. I found myself hustled out the door with all the other children. I didn’t want to play and I had no book so I walked around the playground twice then found I was late for the party. As

I entered the classroom a small plate was thrust into my hands and I was pushed to the end of the line of children shuffling their way along a table. I didn’t want to be in the line. I just wanted my bag of lollies. I put the plate down and headed for my teachers desk. She yelled at me to please for once to do as I was told and join the back of the line. Before I had a chance to ask her for my own preference in food, a pair of hands grabbed me from behind, spun me around and shoved me back toward the line. Why could they not understand that I didn’t want to be there?

My body began to shake with frustration. I felt hollowed out yet full at the same time. My stomach dipped and lurched the way it does whenever my dad drives us down a big hill and my fingers started twisting themselves together. I wanted to escape this feeling of sinking within. I’d felt this before when melting words but never this keenly. I knew I needed a book to hold. To flip through its pages endlessly until this feeling went away. I left the line and went to the bookshelf. Again I was grabbed by a pair of hands form behind. This time I couldn’t help it. This time I screamed.

My arms and legs were filling with a jittery rage while the centre of my being felt like it was removing itself from my body. The room began to spin. There were too many sounds. Too many smells. Too many hands touching me. I wanted them off me. I struck out at them in blind panic. They moved. Someone handed me a book. I took it and ran. The only things it seemed I would ever be allowed to have in that classroom were books.

My pseudo parents were called to the school that day. It seems I was outside the confines of what a child should be and the school no longer wanted me. At least not for the next month, or so my pseudo father said. My pseudo mother told me that I’d have to go to work with her as I could not be trusted on my own. Then she added, that they were taking my books away from me. They were clearly upsetting my mind.