Friday, March 15, 2013

A word for calm when you're not calm



Sirens, always, in the distance. When I wake, I burn. I turn my head to the right and then the left, no kindle for the fire that burns up and down. The toilet overflows and later we pull our chairs in closer around the small table, the better to enfold the slumped shoulders and bowed head in our embrace. At home, the sink has overflowed, and there's a veil of coffee grounds over it. Sharp words pour out and down, acid to the murk could it be tree roots below.

Zwijgen

I slept before a wall of books and they
calmed everything in the room, even
their contents, even me, woken
by the cold and thrill, and still
they said, like the Dutch verb for falling
silent that English has no accommodation for
in the attics and rafters of its intimacies.

Saskia Hamilton (1967)

5 comments:

  1. I love that other languages have words that we haven't the need or imagination for - it always makes me want to go there

    tree roots in the plumbing? ugh!

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  2. Just looking at your bookshelf, made me feel better.

    That said...roots = bad. The plumber was here recently and sent a newfangled camera down the pipe to the street and discovered many, many, MANY dreadful roots. They offered me 3 options. 1. The $50 quick fix - just a basic rooting. 2. The $1200.00 "hydrojet" rooting. 3. The $5000.00 replacing of the pipes that run out to the sidewalk. He said I needed to do Option 3. Guess which one I chose.

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  3. i love this. photo, poem and your writing. hope to see you soon. xo

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  4. Is it coincidence that the title that jumped out to my eyes from your bookshelf photo was "The Book of Deadly Animals?" Ha! I love that it is nestled up right next to "Ways to Listen." You rock, Elizabeth!

    If you have to have the sewer lines inspected, it's at least sort of fun to watch the camera wind its way down the pipes. A little like watching a colonoscopy for a dinosaur...

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  5. Lovely bookshelf, lovely words.

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