The songful dimension of language

Word magic

Cows in the lane, 1

From Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram:

"All things have the capacity for speech -- all beings have the ability to communicate something of themselves to other beings. Indeed, what is perception if not the experience of this gregarious, communicative power of things, wherein even obstensibly 'inert' objects radiate out of themselves, conveying their shapes, hues, and rhythms to other beings and to us, influencing and informing our breathing bodies though we stand far apart from those things?

Cows in the lane, 2

"Not just animals and plants, then, but tumbling waterfalls and dry riverbeds, gusts of wind, compost piles and cumulus clouds, freshly painted houses (as well as houses abandoned and sometimes haunted), rusting automobiles, feathers, granite cliffs and grains of sand, tax forms, dormant volcanoes, bays and bayous made wretched by pollutants, snowdrifts, shed antlers, diamonds, and daikon radishes, all are expressive, sometimes eloquent and hence participant in the mystery of language. Our own chatter erupts in response to the abundant articulations of the world: human speech is simply our part of a much broader conversation.

Cows in the lane, 3

"It follows that the myriad things are also listening, or attending, to various signs and gestures around them. Indeed, when we are at ease in our animal flesh, we will sometimes feel we are being listened to, or sensed, by the earthly surroundings. And so we take deeper care with our speaking, mindful that our sounds may carry more than a merely human meaning and resonance. This care -- this full-bodied alertness -- is the ancient, ancestral source of all word magic. It is the practice of attention to the uncanny power that lives in our spoken phrases to touch and sometimes transform the tenor of the world's unfolding."

Cows in the lane, 4

Cows 6* 6x8


Oh how I love this post! Such a beautiful quote from David Abrams, and such a charming little tale hidden in the picture captions. We don't keep cows on our farm (we keep sheep), but I do love them. Lovely ladies indeed.

That Day the Waterfall Spoke to Me

That day the waterfall spoke to me
in its rumbling basso extremis,
of the objects tumbling down
its long water course, cursing really.
Called them invaders, repellent,
iron reminders of a once great nation.
Said they were steel and stolen
from legitimate heirs of earth.
Told me they were bits of flotsam
aliens, moochers, the 50 percent
who did not give back to the world
but simply took from it, destroying
as they tumbled down his beautiful side.
You were expecting forgiveness?
Understanding? The waterfall is power,
majesty, part of the might-is-right crew.
Not all natures are mothering.
Not all voices tell us what we want to hear.

©2012 Jane Yolen All rights reserved

So true! And it's lovely to see your poems here again. I hope the transition from Scotland back to Western Mass went smoothly. xxxx

Exactly! It's why I fell in love with the writings of the long-ago Scottish Nationalist Movement (Neil Gunn, Naomi Mitchinson, Erik Linklater and peripherally, the Irish writer, Maurice Walsh). Their writing was almost never contained any elements of genre fantasy but the landscapes surrounding and engulfing their characters are ALIVE and effect the plot as much as the people walking through them do.

Oh, I so totally agree.

Some writers new to me that I must look up. It is my habit to speak to animals for they are often alert and give back a kind of answer. Dogs, cats, horses, cows, and city creatures, birds, squirrels. There is also the gift of silence to share with an animal, a deep wordless connection. Also, I am reminded of David Rains Wallace's The Klamath Knot which when I read it, seemed like walking into the wild, again.

Ha, interesting... my most recent post over at RavenWood Forest is about my own experience of the shared language of all creation. I had to return "Becoming Animal" to the library before reading this bit, and now I'm on a cue to get it back!

Oh, and I'm quite fond of that photo - a moment of relating.

I haven't read that. Thanks for the recommendation!

It's a beautiful post, Valerianna.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention how much I like the cows. In my rural life I knew many cows and they,
like all things living, have different personalities. Some frisky, some solemn, and except for bulls,

Hmmm. Lovely ladies and lovely synchronicity. I woke from a nap with a dream on Sept. 9th. In my dream, Terri, we are sitting across a table talking together about our lives and stories, specifically a book of your stories and how fairy tales in general are sources for healing. I say this is what I want to work with, storytelling and healing, and you lean towards me. As you lean forward your head is transformed into that of a cow, radiating golden light. I understand that this is Hathor and she touches her cow nose to mine. As she/you sit back, you are returned to yourself and I wake up feeling it was a visitation and we have been blessed.

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