Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Conversation's over

For Russell Molloy

Something      an everything
below the information register

Music happens to be music

Flame crackles
and brown bird whistles

Near imperceptible laughter
of a man who doesn't have
the language working


  1. nice poem...existing so many ways to communicate "real" communication is difficult to get...and a blessing sometimes...

  2. Thank you, Sandra.

    Russell, to whom the poem's dedicated, is a service user at the Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities where I work. He understands a limited number of words and very rarely vocalises in any way himself. I no longer work with him directly but consider him a friend. I can't quite unpick how we came to that friendship or say in any precise terms how we communicate.

    Hearing that soft laugh of his is something very good indeed.

  3. thanks for explaining that Duncan....!

  4. I think Sandra has this quite right. People who do have the ability to speak so commonly use that ability to deceive or conceal, these days ("have a nice day!" as is said here), that one now instinctively reaches "below the information register" in pursuit of any crumb of what might possibly be taken as real. Of course, that's often as painful to trick out as it is desolating to consider once grasped. Still a stifled cry of anguish barely made out or a bit of imperceptible laughter, by these signs we are given to know what truth may be gathered from human interaction, on the common, universally understood level, beyond all simulation. Perhaps it's for this reason that in conversations with people whose language(s) we don't share, we are sometimes permitted a curious sense of mutual comprehension which has nothing to do with the meanings of words in any known language, and all to do with tone, expression, gesture, body language.

    ("Conversations" with animals are in this way quite often curiously more direct and useful than the "correct", superficial chats with the glib, double-minded two-legged folk.)

  5. Yes. Being unfamiliar with a language, you can sometimes find yourself face to face with the bare desire to communicate, to come to some kind of communion. There's hope in that, I think.