Sunday, November 12, 2006

Language Poem

A while ago in class we read a poem called "Nothingness" by Ahron Amir about the absence of language. (If you haven't read it yet you probably will sometime this week, so you should wait and respond after looking at it in class.)

We didn't really have a chance to freely discuss it in class, so I wanted to do that here. I thought the poem raised a lot of interesting questions. First of all, what do you think about the fact that it was translated? How does that impact what it says about language?

Another thing-- most of the images it offers "Of a man flung from a treetop far above the ground", a "pilot whose parachute would not open", a stone falling to a bottomless pit, are about falling. Nearly everyone has dreams about falling, or the sensation of falling in their sleep. Could this almost instinctual, basic image be something that you can connect to without language? Is that why it's offered in this poem? I realize that the fact that it is a poem makes it hard to convey the sensation of the absence of language, but go with me here. What do you think?

One last point-- The speaker describes them self as a "non-I" in the absence of language. Do we define ourselves through language? Can a sense of identity exist without it?

What do you think? Any other things you want to discuss with this poem? Please respond! :)


Deep Chandegara said...

the only thing that was interesting to me is that he is using language to describe how life would be without language, so he's kind of contradicting himself right there.

N Dauth said...

As for the translation issue, that simply causes the poem to lose any idiom or rhyming the poem had in its original language. I guess this could dampen the poems intended affect by losing sound devices. The "falling" motif conveys a sense of hopelessness. A person without language would probably feel hopeless, which is probably why the author implemented it.