February 26th, 2009

the meaning of existence, by les murray

Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, plants, rivers, time
know nothing else. They express it
moment by moment as the universe.

Even this fool of a body
lives it in part, and would
have full dignity within it
but for the ignorant freedom
of my talking mind.

via poetryarchive.org:

The influences and oppositions discernible in Murray’s work – love of the land, the tensions between rural and urban life, the struggle for an independent means of expression – are forces that have also shaped modern Australian culture and perhaps help explain both his widespread appeal and the controversy he sometimes attracts. What’s not in dispute is the fecundity of his language: “We are a language species” he says (‘Employment for the Castes in Abeyance’) and he often writes in a rich torrent of words like a latter-day Elizabethan, delighting in puns, allusion, alliteration and learning. He started professional life as a translator and, in effect, he has continued in this role, pushing language to capture experience that is usually beyond our human radar, like the “queer/tonal hunting zone” of ‘Bats’ Ultrasound’.


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