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Sunday 27 February 2011


Improvise being Writers' Island's one word prompt for this week.

What if the word that I want,
the word so precise in its meaning,
the one that I need
for the thought I am wanting to think,
does not exist?
What then?
Can I still think it?
Or will I be able
to improvise?

And what if words that I want do exist,
but harbour insurgents,
harsh malcontents and saboteurs
who use innuendo
subverting the meanings,
gathering round them
the most undesirable words,
can it be there's a way
to improvise truth from their lies,

creating my meanings
from new combinations,
making it up
whilst I'm making my way?
And what if the thought
has the shape of a word
but is empty of meaning,
cuts a space for new thinking,
can I satisfy it with my makeshift devices?


anthonynorth said...

Great words. We're imprisoned in our words, but with mind to grasp infinite variety.

Arnab Majumdar said...

This post made me rethink a question I heard a long time ago.

What language do cats and dogs think and dream in?


Tabor said...

Wow, this is one of the best. An anthem to writers.

The Weaver of Grass said...

This is a perfect description of what appears to be going on in my head some days, Dave.

Linda Sue said...

This is So excellent! All of this occurred to me , not quite so eloquently and well put, when I studied ASL for a year. A language unlike any other, depending on visuals only, signing could not convey meaning and innuendo the subtleties of speech. I am sure Deaf process the same way as hearing, just that their language is less cluttered, I wonder if that simplifies thought- don't know.

Gerry/Strummed Words said...

The dilemma of all writers, especially poets. Very nice.

Madame DeFarge said...

Very enjoyable. I sometimes struggle to find the right word to encapsulate my meaning, but I trust that there's one out there somewhere.

Helen said...

Oh I loved this ~ the second stanza totally blew me away!!!!

Carl said...

Wow. Dave you are on a real existentialism kick. Again your variety and imagery wonderful.


Dick said...

An excellent riff on slippery semantics, Dave. A prompt well-served.

Rachel Fenton said...

I love this - that slippery chain of meaning. What's lost in translation when you translate thought to language? Semantics and poetry - it doesn't get much better!

Anonymous said...

wow, what if, love your wonders...

keep rocking.

Anonymous said...

Happy Sunday!

Please vote, you are nominated, you win one vote automatically, if you vote, you win another vote..!
Thanks for the time!
Good Luck!

Dave King said...

Absolutely, that is the case.

Hi and a warm welcome to you. Thanks for visiting.
An interesting question indeed. What kind of thinking does a child have before he learns any language? is one that has always absorbed me.

Yes, indeed. I'm glad you see it that way.

The Weaver of Grass
And mine, weaver, and mine.

Linda Sue
What an interesting thought. It os one that has occurred to me in the past, but partially or not quite in that form. I must give it some thought.

Hi, good to have you commenting. Yes, I think you are right, it does strike poets particularly.

I guess we all assume that. But is it so. Translators often speak of a particular phrase or word as being untranslatable into English - or whatever the language happens to be. And for a poet, meaning is often compromised- or enriched, of course - by the word's other associations.

Thanks for that. A great comment to read! Glad you're back, though!

Yes, I think you are right: I'm riding an existential wave just now!

Thanks Dick. Very much appreciated.

Dave King said...

Endless questions can be the most fascinating - or the most frustrating, I find. The ones you mention fascinate me.

Thanks for that.

Rose said...

Brilliant - a thought that has the shape of a word but is empty of meaning - I suppose our thoughts are really images and words are so elusive when trying to weave them into the images in our minds. Well written I can relate very well to this!