“The terrible, lightest wind in the world
Blows from word to word, from ear
To ear, from name to name, from secret
Name to secret name. You maybe
Did not know you had another
Sound and sign signifying you.”
W.S. Graham, The Secret Name
 
Language is not what I imagined it to be at all, and the history of its study casts a huge shadow onto poor little  me, trying to figure all of it out.
Professor talks about “spirit of the age” and the discursive environment in which dominant trends emerge, intellectually and academically.
…Graham and Derrida saying similar things while not knowing of each other…
…Responding perhaps to just one Saussure… all swept up in this wave called Continental philosophy.
My thoughts wander to my own discursive history:
its lack of awareness, its innocence, its self-assuming rightness and position in the world.
its one degree of removal in encountering anything West,
and the appropriation of its structures, overgrown with Chinese-ness.
All these thoughts culminate into a sole consideration of whether or not it stands between me and a more innate understanding of the program I now officially study: English.
Does it matter that I have been brought up speaking English my whole life, in countries that do not speak English?
Does it matter that against this tradition lies the Other not just lurking on the doorstep but shoving and smashing whatever it hits?
Is it justified that with every step I take into this self-assumed, rather arrogant sphere of thought, a small inner me rebels and fights?
What does it all mean in the face of physical suffering,
in history unrelated and uninformed before a jarring interruption?
What does everything I say or think mean?
If my words were to slowly morph at this point into characters that cannot be learned systematically,
那麼一切的一切又帶著甚麼意義?
意義帶著甚麼後果?
so it continues…and the question remains.
do i dare disturb this universe?
“And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “i am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all” – 
If one, settling a pillow by her head, 
Should say:”
dear Prufrock, sir, some days i do and others days i really don’t.
Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

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