Saturday, 31 October 2015

Truth Is Mute - Sujata Bhatt

Truth is mute, she says,
but you need words to find it.

A bull’s head in water, a mermaid’s split tail –
centuries in silt, and the words that came down to us:
a blue spell of longing, now translucent on paper.

Is filigrane the sound you want
or is it watermark?

How many dictionaries
do you need for the words you seek?

Remember, she says,
instinct is wordless
even as it lives within words.

Remember, she says,
love will be silent with love.

Mother tongue, father tongue –
when the child started to speak
she used all her words at once,
at once in a rush: pani, water, Wasser.
When the child started to speak
she meant fish and Fisch.

How many languages must you learn
before you can understand your own?

When she lived on a mountain
amongst people whose language
she did not know, her own language turned
into a festival of fruits, and a festival of birds.

When she lived on a mountain
oxygen-deprived, near ice-covered rocks,
she only dreamt of the sea
night after night – algae and seaweed.

Will oxygen determine the meaning of your words?

Remember, she says,
love will be silent with salt.

Remember, she says,
truth is mute, and love will be silent.

Sujata Bhatt (born 1956) India

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