Small objects of pain

God knows where words go.
Dust to dust.
The poet loves and distrusts them.
Someone must.

Trust no one, least of all yourself. Least of all your own best beloved blather, those sentiments and instincts that seem to elevate you into one of life’s nobler specimens, that render you a Mensch, a judge of character, a person who, according to your secret internal PR, is someone to be trusted. If you must trust in something, trust in distrust, or at least listen to it sometimes. As they say: Just listen to yourself! At least have the decency to be just a little disgusted with yourself.

Can you hear the shakiness of those words, those little drops of sound as they fall, those traces of black and white certainty as they imprint themselves across the page? Something — a shadow, as Eliot would have it — intervenes between, what shall we call it? Idea and reality? Motion and act? Conception and creation? What do you read, my lord? Words, words, words.

They really are terrible things: small objects of pain, strange myopic blurs that suddenly rush together to form an avalanche tumbling from one or other Mount Sinai. Tablets of cant. Here, take one. If it doesn’t cure you at least you can flatten yourself with it. See how treacherous they are, these mixed metaphors, these puns?

George Szirtes

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