Language Of The Birds

Léo Litha, kolaż. „International Collage Art Exhibition”, Galeria Retroavangarda. Warszawa 2019

Léo Litha, collage

Bill Nelson Language Of The Birds (Luminous, 1991)

“Abstracted words are idols. Where the letter stands the spirit has departed. The spirit is the wind: that which surrounds, which nurtures and sustains. The word alone is defleshed, a disembodied intellect. Meaning is not in words. Meaning lies between the lines, between the sheets, embedded in sentence. Or sentience. (…)

The Hebrews distinguished between true and false prophets: the false prophets not remembering anything when they emerged from the trance, while the true prophets remained conscious. Robert Graves likens the latter to the poetic trance: the words are gifts, from the Other, but the poet maintains full consciousness. The divination is immediate and intuitive, like the Tibetan tra, or the second sight of the Scottish highlanders.

But there is another level of the poetry oracle — the internal logic and structure of the poem — its rhythm, assonance, and rhyme — that can demand a word or phrase otherwise quite out of place, semantically. The poem itself discovers, or uncovers, new information, that the poet herself does not know. A poem in resonance is like a formula in physics, an equation of power. (…)

To understand the language of birds, one needs not ears, not cochlea and tympanum, but cellular hearing, where the organs of perception have expanded to include skin, hair follicles, heartbeat, and whatever it is that is all of it together.

The prophetic gift is like a writing tablet without writing, both irrational and indeterminate in itself, but capable of images, impressions, and presentiments, and it paradoxically grasps the future when the future seems as remote as possible from the present. This remoteness is brought about by a condition, a disposition, of the body that is affected by a change known as inspiration. — Plutarch, On the Cessation of Oracles

There is only poetry.”

Dale Pendell The Language of Birds: Some Notes on Chance and Divination (Cabinet Magazine)






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