Watching the human word storm

Watching the human word storm_20130727_211705

No one knows how long
You lay on the floor after
The silencing stroke
Storm of human words—voiceless
You have no way of saying

While I am talking
A jet black crow flies across
Mackerel-clouded skies
Muted scenes through a window
Something plays across your face


Depth Charge: While listening to part three of Jean Aitchison’s 1996 Reith Lecture, The Language Web, I misheard her when she said “the human word store” and thought she said “the human word storm.” This mishearing caused me to think about my aunt who had lost both the power of speech and the power to communicate through the written word after her stroke. The other theft in this poem comes from watching a performance of Hanafuda Denki-The Dance of Death. In it there is a line about a “mackerel sky” and I instantly saw in my mind the type of striped cloud formation to which it referred, so I stole it. As a side note, the picture that accompanies this post, which I took on the north shore of Prince Edward Island in 2013, is not what I would call a mackerel sky, but it is amazingly beautiful.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”


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