segunda-feira, janeiro 29, 2007

Voice & Silence

E. E.Cummings' poems are filled with references to silence and voice. In is 5, section Four (1926), the poet, interestingly enough, gives an account of his poetic activity in these words:

some ask praise of their fellows
but i being otherwise
made compose curves
and yellows,angles or silences
to a less erring end)
myself is sculptor of
your body’s idiom:
the musician of your wrists;
the poet who is afraid
only to mistranslate

a rhythm in your hair,
(your fingertips
the way you move)

the painter of your voice—
beyond these elements

remarkably nothing is.…

(CP 292)

Silence is experience.
Silence is a quality, or even more, emotion itself. It may either qualify a noun ("silent shoulders"), be a qualified substantive ("nervous and accurate silence" [CP 114]),or be presented as a quality in itself ("she smelled of silence" [CP 208]). Of course, silence is a quality the senses perceive even if we cannot properly name it. And indeed, the poet hardly ever uses the word "silence" alone. But silence is not completely unknown to us even though it remains almost unnamed. How would we be able otherwise to understand the phrase "she smelled of silence" without having at least once felt it? Unspeakable, silence is not imperceptible but can only be attained by indirect means. One of them is synesthesia. Silence is more than just an idea or a thing, it is a phenemenon, a form for emotion to occur. Being an abstraction, as is always the case with abstraction in Cummings’ poetry, does not prevent it from being [end page 37] essentially tactile. The abstraction of silence is more than perceptible —it is purely sensuous.

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