Thursday, 6 August 2009

Pia Tafdrup: Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 9

[66-68]

Not only words will express something. Both Tarkovsky and Wim Wenders tell stories cleverly, overwhelmingly, and almost without words. Their films are not poems, for poems are words, but they are great poetry.

*

Condensed expression has its source in selection. Attention to choice is all-important. But choice also affects that of which, consciously or unconsciously, nothing is said. Something must be left untouched. There must be a secret to return to.

*

Just as the moon’s sickle paradoxically emphasizes that part of the moon which cannot be seen, so every poem points to what is not said. Each time language mentions something, something else is left out. There will always be a residue. It is the body that registers that it is there, that to every poem belongs something unsaid. It is this irreducible but changeable value that forever makes it possible to enter new constellations. What cannot be captured in a poem can perhaps be discovered later, and there is hardly a dizziness greater than the thought of language’s unutilized resources.

*

To write something is to put it at a distance, so as to be able to move somewhere else, in freedom.

*

Poems were originally connected with song. Poems are not sung nowadays, but are bearers of music. Words unroll sounds. The poem has its level, its tone, which may alter in strength and volume. Its authenticity is greatly dependent on the phonic aspect, the integration of the sound-figures.

*

Language is not merely words. It breathes. It opens and closes. Is pushed forward or filters quietly out of one person and into another. With their dreams.

So many forms of breathing are censored. The song and the poem are the places in language where breathing is allowed to unfold itself with a maximum of freedom.


translated from Danish by David McDuff

Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 1
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 2
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 3
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 4
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 5
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 6
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 7
Over the Water I Walk (IV) - 8

Note: the posts with the translated text of Chapters I, II and III can be accessed here, here, and here.

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