The purity of words.
The purity of saying the very thing you need to say, reading the word apropos to the moment, seeing the familiar call of another soul in another place who speaks your thoughts — the rare taste of the divine in the common moment, calling the common moment out.
Whitman is tactile. Colette, vivacious. Both speak and the world quiets down.
Whitman prepares, Colette illustrates.
“Beautiful dripping fragments, the negligent list of one after
another as I happen to call them to me or think of them,
The real poems, (what we call poems being merely pictures,)
The poems of the privacy of the night,…
drooping shy and unseen that I always carry,…” — from “Spontaneous Me”, Walt Whitman
“Ask me…I could tell you…the dirge, the moaning in a minor key of the two pine trees that lulled my sleep, and the youthful voice, sweetly shrill, of my mother calling my name in the garden. I could open for you the books over which was bent my forehead…and in a puff I could blow away…the dark, wrinkled faces of the pansies,…which, innocent young pagan that I was, I pressed between the pages of a book. You will hear the hooting of my shy owl, and you will feel the warmth of the low wall, embroidered with snails, where I propped my elbow. You will warm your arms, folded one upon the other…” — from “Earthly Paradise”, Colette
The particular paragraph above echoes the piece that first introduced me to Colette. A chapter from “My Mother’s House” in which her mother, from the garden and from the aching spaces in her soul, called her children home — “Where, O, Where are the Children?”. I’d never read anything quite so unsettlingly pure. It was then I was riveted with writing.
Riveted with the purity of words.
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