language as the basis of visual exploration

Some subjects are resistant to language, some rely too heavily on explanation, and some are caught by the mind, not fully formed in image or understanding, and remain like the beginnings of a cloud, unsure of their place.

These vaporous beings, who struggle to find their feet are friends of mine. We sit together often, enthralled in each others company, saying little, yet knowing the long pauses in conversation offer more than a language that would fill them.

Over the past years I have not known where I may place some of these conversations. You see, it appeared to me that the making of things held some concrete secret that I wasn’t party to. That the world of category played some trick, and that as ideas came and went I felt uneducated in their cartographic reasoning. Language played its role well, its job being to keep the essence of the thought just beyond my finger tips, unanswered in its grace and tantalising to the other senses.

The more I spent time with my mind the less I felt a need to explain why or how a subject or object was important. I became aware that the reason for category relates to an understanding of value, and whilst value was something I’d felt I had very little of, a simple refocusing of perception has allowed a great deal of space to arrive between me and that avenue of thought.

 

It is not a conceptual issue that needs to be understood, rather it is a spacial practice that arrives to be felt and experienced. Maybe that’s all that ‘value’ ever was and I had felt myself valueless for many years without knowing this basic truth.

 

I feel unable now to unthink this, yet realise that it may find itself forgotten at times in place of an ego who tortures by a comparison of values. This I can accept as I see as it offers one of many perspectives and one I can honour with its own space, its own recognition as part of the conversation.

 

yet I have found great joy in pausing my mind's conversation to see the spaciousness that envelops these moments of clarity.

 

Of Love

So what of love is left to say?

That all mankind has come before, with all his language and declarations, only to fall short at a distance of miles in the knowing of love.

Love does not compare you to a summers day, as love does not know comparison made by language.

Do not search for love in language, for all language has it shares, yet love shares little breath in poetry and saves its spirit for the unspoken.

The essence of honey is not in its viscous amber appearance, nor in the great lengths taken by the bee to assemble its form from a thousand flowers;

Rather the essence of honey, as is love, is in its nature.

The wind so loved the bird, it lifted its wings and allowed it flight.

The rain so loved the tree, that it fell from the heavens to quench its thirst.

The sun so loved the earth, it used its rays to breathe a summers warmth through winter days.

Love is nature’s intelligence manifest.

So what of love is left to say?

Dear friend nothing.

As to say of love is only to lead you on the path to love, and it is your heart that may take that most final of steps out of the garden of language and into neverland.

The Moons Tooth

In all the worlds and by all the seas,

Under all the skies, surrounded by winds and trees. The question of why the Moon looks so surprised, was often met with bewildered eyes.

‘He’s an old man now’, so many said,

‘Who likes to sleep in his midnight bed;
With dreams of games like hide and seek,

In secret places behind mountain peaks.’

You see dear child that in his youth,

He, like so many, had lost his tooth.
He looked in rivers and under rocks,

Behind his bed and in his socks.

He asked the stars to help him search,
Looking down from above up where they perch.
They smiled and giggled as they knew the truth,
Saying, ‘look down dear friend, to see your tooth’.

You see in all the searching he hadn’t seen,
That this Earth we’re on was shiny and clean.
Its roots are deep its caps are white,
Its slopes are steep with a crowning light.

His surprised expression comes simply from,
Finding his tooth is this planet we’re on.
He watches and looks as you hide and seek,
Behind the curtains and mountain peaks.

He’s given his tooth to you dear one,
So you may play until night-time comes.
Then sleep you must, like our friend dear Moon,
And dream of stars in their midnight lagoon.

For tomorrow there will be more to play,
At hide and seek and night as day.


 

Eulogy for a Table


    The ladder, so they say, is the only way of note by which to leave a table. You will surely be noticed if you conjure up that very tall of instruments from your coat pocket, place it over your guests and leave in a vertical manner. You see, even the most formal of occasions would be interrupted, as it would by the lighting of ones pipe before retiring, most unexpected in rudeness and excursively irregular. To be in the presence of a table is to be of an occasion of sorts. It is not an exciting prospect to be seated, as it is a regular occurrence, but what is fascinating is its simplicity, it works, it is a device not to be sniffed at and never taken for granted. A table is not to be mistaken for a chair; as salt and pepper, although brothers, they are dressed in different clothes but in cahoots and by all accounts, harmonious.

This playful gaze, like an elephant if his train of thought was to be disturbed, has confused me. I see that he, the table, has many possibilities and none of them more sophisticated than his purpose, and yet never is his obvious conclusion drawn. I understand that in his other life there were many lives he could have lived, but to share in his importance and disguise, the table stands resolute against a majority of his siblings and exclaims: ‘If I am not worthy of parade and just a simple fool, should I not be looked at as an item of revolt or a member of your family and good?” In the light of this and of these woes I ask you, if a ladder be the library can we leave and ask if it is our discontent that is the sign that divides us from all that breathes?    

With the only relief left to leave here and take a vertical departure using that object of little note, to find in things this place that cannot be described as a ladder or table, but in using both to be the tram which is guided along an oblique and snaky path through the milieu of progress and hopes beyond any elephant’s thoughts. And so, you may ask, why write at all of other worlds when all you see is a table being carried as if on his last journey to meet its God, with a makers tool adorning his saddle? It is not out of fear or dependency I tell you this, rather that this is a time when we may understand his role in all that has happened until this moment, because we have never left this Earth of ours, nor known other standards than those which it offers us. Can that which it judges and condemns form the thought that judges and condemns? In any event, since we have it, and since it differentiates us from all that surrounds us, let us not neglect it, for it is without doubt the only thought that comes to us from beyond this Earth.

So lastly, whither do they go to, what befalls them, what becomes of them when they are dead? Why smile at these questions when asked of a table, and take them seriously when they relate to man? Is the difference so very great? At every step we have the presentment of their intelligence, and before we can refuse to admit it, we have to rebel against the evidence. We are no longer confronted by stones or trees, or beasts which are the slaves of instinct, but by lives which only progress divides us from, for in particulars they become very close to being our equals, and of these mysterious particulars we, in our ignorance, are but sorry judges.


 

Untitled


Because listening was a birth each time,

because with her, here was anywhere
and anywhere was kind.

I remember the tastes and scents, and sense released from scents,
the sense of everything as golden and remembered.

And this you see is home right here and in this tone,
of sun and leaves and apple trees.

What memory has, it shares,
but less is forgotten in objects made.

What thought is left when the thinker rests?
Only that which is remembered and then replayed.


 

The Oak Tree


I once met an Oak,
An old, wise tree.
And I asked him
How he came to be.

He spoke very slowly
And taught me to see
That language is precious
And silence is key.

So he saves his words
For those who listen
To birds and grass
And stars that glisten.

‘For words’, he said,
‘Make little sense
When no space is given
between each tense.’

‘I see many people rush and chase
This time called life they start to race.
They look in places far from here
To find a future and bring it near.’

‘But I’ve waited quietly
In rooted pose
To look and see
What my life chose.’

‘I may end up as table or chair,
Or one of many creaking stair,
Or log that waits to be turned to ash,
Or post, or handle, or frame for sash.’

‘I may fall by wind on winter’s night,
Or catch a child’s wandering kite,
Or lose myself as ivy creeps,
Up to my bowers whilst I sleep.’

‘But none of these I strive to be,
For I am happy as a tree.’

‘So how, you ask, I came to be?
I stand and listen and watch and see.’

So be still my friend and let noises pass,
For silence teaches all that lasts.


 

  © 2020 Matt Moser-Clark