Tonight, when the sun has finally conceded the day to its distant but ever larger kin, the moon will again sing her ever waning song hoping we will join in a chorus we have so long forgotten, bound to the earth in body and in waxing thought.
We will stop and listen perhaps, over the din of the city, the traffic, the animals conversing with the sky, our thoughts, but the words will now be an alien language for which we have no dictionary, only the faint memory of the place from which both we and the moon share cosmic ancestry.
He had long since decided that language was impossible, the English language in particular. He had acquired all manner of dictionaries, and had searched the web, using it as a reverse dictionary. But all too often the language came up short. Words at best approximated what he meant, what he saw, but to get even close, he needed to string adverbs and adjectives to his nouns and verbs until he had an ungodly mess. He knew the solution and set out to implement it. As time went on, he filled notebook after notebook, flash drive after flashdrive (redudency was a virtue in this case, he knew) with the new words. And he was finally satisfied, like Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty. For now when he used a word, it meant exactly what he wished it to because he created the word.
If you want a good conversation birds should be your first choice, wading birds at the top of the list, although you still have to be quick for if you meander they will lose interest.
Animals are to who you should turn if you need advice on getting through the omnipresent obstacles life raises to impede your smooth passage through it, but note cats tend to be pithy and easily bored.
Cows and horses in the fields have almost infinite patience, and listen when others would turn away, but note that they are easily distracted so it is best to keep a handful of hay at the ready always.
And, remember to bring your dictionaries for birds and animals will speak to you only in their own languages despite the fact that they fully understand yours, but do not deign or desire to be thought of as human.
I set out this morning with my large dictionary to find the perfect word to describe the sky, the sun just peering over the roof of a distant house, the few clouds aflame in a silent fire.
I knew there was a word for what I saw in the dictionary, for there is a word for everything if you search long and hard enough, but after a while I gave up when I realized I could no longer recall what I had seen that set me off on this search.
Our cat has become a conversationalist. Her vocabulary grows larger each day. She seemingly shares her every thought with us, and admittedly we talk to and through her with some regularity as well. She does grow frustrated when we don’t immediately understand what she is saying, what she wants in a given moment. That is our assigned task, she will tell us. We ask for a cat dictionary and she scoffs. I may speak in cat, she says, but I certainly think in human, so figure it out, I am not that much smarter than you humans.
Words failed him again. They did so ever more often it seemed, but it was possible it was merely that he was trying to express ever more complex ideas ideas in terms others would comprehend. A picture might not be worth a thousand words, but if you had that many, odds are some would be correct. And the listener could sort out which were and which were not. He had made up some words that fit perfectly, but they only drew stares, so he took to drawing pictures. Then he could attach his words and they would mean exactly what he was defining — picture dictionary that anyone could grasp. Well, not anyone perhaps, but most people if they would be the least bit patient. His friends had learned that patience, as he was patient with them in return. But his parents were another matter, never willing to slow down and really listen, always just searching for words that failed them.
The Japanese invented haiku certain that a painting of great beauty could be completed with only a few strokes of the brush.
The Japanese have no word for what we claim is higher order poetry, academic and pedantic are two other English words which easily apply. And the Japanese are hard put to comprehend so much of what we deem experimental, the result, a friend named Yoshi said, of what seems the odd scraps of a dictionary torn apart by an unexpected tornado.
In Tokyo every tree knows that at least four poems lie within it, each awaiting the appropriate season.
I took yesterday and pressed it between the pages of my unabridged dictionary. The day began at sunrise and ended just before it became a supplicant, though to what, was not at all apparent. Days can be frustrating when they refuse to allow sufficient margins. I always thought Thursday’s among the best behaved, or at least the most compliant but that’s no longer so. The promise they used to hold out is evanescent now. It doesn’t really matter anyway for when I went to get it today to place it in my book of days, of course it was gone. I won’t look for it, yet one day it will, like so many others turn up amid the page barely preceding histrionics.