It snowed: I snowed. It rained: I rained. As if in some pre-verbal state, whatever ‘it’ was, I was too. I was warm in May because the sun was: I couldn’t tell the difference. I was all the world and all the world was me, saturated with presence. Grass. Blue. Tree. Water. Wind.
— Jay Griffiths, Kith: the Riddle of the Childscape (2013)
I can tell you about the search for perfect words but, really, do you know just how those words can have affect for this mind and body and for this sensitivity? Words are like the weather.
The dust and particles of sand blow up from far in the south, from the deserts, across the seas, and high into the stream of the sky. The air turns dense, a sepia-yellow. The wind blows through. The children in the playground whip around. It feels apocalyptic, but it’s the tail of the storm.
Or, sometimes, in moments still and wide, words are great gashes, sweeps and strokes: all dimensions crammed into two. Words are in the vast theatre-flats, the sets of the world.
Through the raindrops on glass, the sky is a thin wash painting: one of Rothko’s experiments, perhaps. Spread below the thick dark grey, a weak orange, a washy yellow, a bright pale blue and a weathered tinge of green — bands that mark beyond the black bare trees.
I can tell you about the need not to break the lovely ghosts of words, but I would need to whisper this. Words are the china-delicacy of time.
The morning is quiet before the day sets in. Let’s just stop time. Here we can be supple, maleable, soft. Things are possible, but just now, in mornings.
We may talk, you and me, but we might not fully comprehend: our own thoughts fall in the way. Words are water, the art of attention.
The river listens to the liquid conversations we have with ourselves: silent us and silent it. Occasionally it speaks, in ripples, but mostly it just waits and hears.
Or, words are a blurring, out and out across the land and sea, back and back through geographies and histories. Words are like waves, hypnotic, sloshing and smearing us out and away.
Here at the sea, the long sweep along the coast to other places known, and what was this rock thousands of years before we built on it? Later, still far back for us, the early travellers are out on the waves.
I can tell you many things, but I don’t have the wisdom of the trees. Words are such as these.
The trees speak, in languages other than words, in words other than sound, in sounds of colour and light. The trees speak in poetry we have to read by standing still.
I can tell you about the search for perfect words but, really, it’s all written in the stars. Or maybe we don’t believe in matters of astrology.
Perhaps in our written words we’re starlight: we should concentrate all efforts on precision and arrangements. We never know who might look on us — how we can be seen.
In the end, at this end, at this moment, I suppose, it is in the nature of nature, the world and its weather, its sets and time, its waters, seas and trees, its in the stars, if we’ll see, that perfect words can be.