Sunday, November 05, 2006

NoagNote I:

"Silence is golden", says a friend of mine.

But I say that in our beleaguered everyday life, when we await affirmation and acknowledgement for our concerns and wishes, silence is definitely not golden. It often feels almost like a betrayal. Not the betrayal of so-so friends (which is somewhat always expected, lurking in the wings) but the abandonment by a kindred spirit, a friend who had somehow drilled through the barriers you so laboriously erected around yourself and inveigled itself into your very heart and soul. You are left feeling like you have been slapped.. by silence.

In the art of poetry, silence is usually a fraction of a void, an emptiness, a pause, between words that sound and resound. And for some poets, the silence can only be contrasted by a great scream of emotion or anguish or joy.

Lorca was such a poet.

None understand better the meaning of the cry ("el grito") -- the scream, the howl, that is punctuated by short, stylized silences -- than the Spaniards, with their Flamenco, their duende, and the immensity of feeling they funnel through their poetry and music.

"Not unlike the guitar, in fact, the voice of the cantaor is considered an instrument of the cry, the cry that dares to break the silence, just as the hands are an instrument to break the stillness, and the feet. "

The Cry

The ellipse of a cry
echoes from mountain
to mountain.

From the olive trees
a black rainbow
veils the blue night.


Like the bow of a viola
the cry vibrates long strings
of wind.

(Translated by Ralph Angel)


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