|English is not an expressive language
English is not an expressive language.
English can point, refer, and recall, but cannot express the essence of each. The analogy is that of a hard disk who stores data in its memory, recalling when it needs to, but did not have even an ounce of care about what it is that it spew out.
This is a critical issue. Yes, I know it is not as critical as death or existence, but the weight of this which can lead to the destruction of universes of myths of reality cannot be undermined. English, when used alone, when not being accompanied by another language, has an effect that leaves the mind inexpressive, stuck, dormant; unable to move and explore. The analogy is as in you who has all parts of the body but cannot even move an inch because it happened that by the decree of The Supreme Intelligence, your nervous system is not developed. Thus the disease you hear in the people of United Kingdom and in Malaysia. In United Kingdom, you can hear people complaining, bickering, complaining, and not feeling comfortable even when they have so much near them. In Malaysia, people who had never cared about Arabic, or never cared about The Supreme Intelligence laughed too often, too loud, too forceful, too high-pitched, especially in the night. That is the plea of the frustrated who longs to have a profound and cerebally expansive journey, but unfortunately they deny themselves that, because they said that such and such prevents them. I wonder if that such and such is not an issue but them not solving that such and such is the actual issue. I recall of the same situation that Frank Lloyd Wright had been told by his client to repair his roof of Wright's design because it leaked on his table and then Wright said, "Just move the table (away from rain)". You be the judge.
There has been a debate by writing whether English can express itself in a form that is short and simple. People want to prove that English is salvagable, by writing all sorts of texts. David Foster Wallace's writings are one of the most recent notable efforts of trying to push English to its top form, although success varies, with short essays more digestable than Infinite Jest, and such writings by the name given by Brenda Ueland as Shane McShaun are among them that shows English in its best form. Paulo Cuelho is another who has this expandable spirit and wonder in his writings in English, writing for a set time, yet fuels for a lifetime. Myself, I have been wanting to prove that English when used correctly, you can solve questions that needs to be solved yet at the same time can be like a river that runs through from the glaciers to the seas, by writing short (and long) arrangements in English for some time. I looked aborad into the world wide web (Wikipedia in particular) and found that Rabindranath Tagore and Ibn Khaldun, translated into English, although the translator says that the translated material's area of imagination stopped short of the same thing in original language, reading it, I found that all my latest endavours actually circles around somewhere worse than even the translated material.
Another, which shows how stodgy English is in comparison with Arabic, I had the fortune of being struck by the aptness and thoroughness of the tunes of qari who excels in musicality, I have been undergoing emotional undercurrent bordering on estacy and euphoria, and, trying to stand up and tell the qari, wanting to say that his musicality be better invested in proper lyrics, I fashioned for myself a preliminary hymn in Arabic, based heavily on Quran. Of course, the hymn is actually a re-mixed version of the Qur'an's phrases, arranged in so that it makes sense. Every word I use refers to the totality of the element I used. It read fluidly, maybe not as profound as Qur'an, but it read like a flowing river, and the impression is of a bigger place, of which everything is bigger, and there are a lot of places of which you cannot reach, but you can see, it is there. At last I had to write my file's name in English. Unprepared for this, I typed in 'iffy arabic hymn' but later thought that was not true, since the elucidation of it I found not iffy but thoughtful, so I made it to something more deferential: 'quran based arabic hymn'. Even then, so much for the hymn. Now you can claim you have heard the hymn because you hear this: "Start. Qur'an based Arabic hymn. The end." In the end, everyone claps and cheer like it is the most searing revealation in the universe. That is the definition of bringing oneself into regression and mental indemnity, I fear.
Such shows where English is. The analogy, in relation to that big place, is that you are stuck in a box, with all the controls within your reach. You can go far with that box, you can reach to every place, yes you can, you found! However, all excientment you do not feel, you did not sense the sheer pathos of your travel, because all this while, you are stuck with the same box, stuck with the same controls within your reach, and stuck with the same things you see around you. What English can do that it does best is it can still provide that same exploration and interconnectivity of Arabic, despite being boxed in and unable to go out, with one condition. It cannot be short and simple. It had to be a prose, no matter how much you try to shorten and cram it up.
Version 1.0: 5 June 2017
With thanks to many English speakers, including on this site.
14 Jun 17
Rated 10 (10) by 2 users.
Active (2): 10
Inactive (0): 10
(define the words in this poem)
(40 more poems by this author)
Add A Comment:
what we do, those of us who learned english from out mothers, is to create a formal structure which allows english to be expressive by juxtaposition. so, in german, i might say things much more succinctly, in english i can invent new conceptual spaces far beyond any german poet. you have to be a poet though, and for me the poet is the dancer and the dance, the motion which goes into becoming an unheard music in a poem.
for a million years i tried to make a poetry that would convince people of some cosmic ideal i had -- religious and social. all i was doing was talking to myself in a commercial transaction language -- trying to sell myself my own idea.
when you stop trying to say so much in poetry, and just kindly start giving something nice to people -- as nice as a green leaf -- then you become a poet. if you think that your kindness is in sharing the truth of jesus or something -- whatever -- the 'truth' -- then, you're just a propagandist beating strangers on their head. you can bully people into the truth, because the truth is actually in who's telling you the truth.
this rant is just dumpster grade english prose. it's pointless, artless and rude...
write in arabic for a hundred years, then come back and share the revelation that it's not what you said, but how you said it that makes you a poet.
language is a bridge connecting, while poetry is the stream below, meandering, murmuring and making many reflections
language is the visible part of the soul, but poetry is the visible part of the real. but, reality is phony, and that's why poetry is like a flight of birds, each turning with the other -- making a shape that looks like this person or that cloud. and, in that flock, nothing but that kind of bird can fly -- nothing that is not a sparrow can fly with sparrows -- and, that's why english language poetry must be in english and not in any other language -- it can't be.
and, alc, where does language come from? it's not this 'fart of the soul' you keep bullying us into accepting. it's the thing invented by poets to share a poet's reality. we've shaped language and culture for thousands of years, and now you want to just toss us off as worthless because we're not as real as a 'rub and a tickle'?? the ability of trogs to even begin to talk about what's reflected has been created between troglodytes through language, not through your this equals that counting games in words, but through the associations and similes available through the word-genius minds of the very first poets in our history. you can't get something for nothing: you can't be a poet just because you say something pretty. omar, here, is intuiting that, but he's confusing english with the problems of saying anything in language at all. he wants to bust our heads with the truth of some religion, and you want to bust our heads with the truth of how pretty you look with the moon over your shoulder. both of you are destroyers. poets give gifts of words, invent beauty where there's only natural death and decay: link your math-head counting machine soul to your actual body so that you can once again become human. both of you need to remember that you're a body before you're a mind, and allow art and poetry and music to fold that mind back into itself to actually feel and intuit 'truth'.
pfft -- As the symbol of Ouroboros attests, we repeat in these things, as if all of creation stuttered out of itself toward this pure sapient frisson, which we are, which our stories reflect, and from which we emerge somehow more whole...
Take note that our stories can be like a romance, and we're constantly returning, rounding another catabasis, in an urge-to-merge, and we're inclined simply to exist in that kiss -- oh to kiss the beloved with the same kiss with which the beloved kisses me, and in that kiss, mingle in our mystery -- oh our hearts know this, Love attracts Love is the secret of this kiss -- and I'm allured, like Narcissus fingering his self-aware pool of consciousness, while Echo diminutively stutters in an arcane self-referential mystery, over and over again.
"Hallelujah Anyway" -- writing can be a cathartic catabasis [kəˈtæbəsɪs] -- it's story telling 101 -- by keeping it simple it resonates with the reader and a nontrivial empathetic inner event occurs -- the reader becomes alive to his or her own process of individuation -- or at the very least they find a voice that speaks to their personal tragedy, the wounds they suffered for their individual remediation, the withering they endured on their dark descent, and that they almost died so that they'd be stronger for it.
'we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are, and if we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change' -- and that's what these Poets of possibility arouse in their Art. It's why I read Poetry; or as Novalis averred, "We read Poetry to heal the wounds that reason makes."
take that Cad - I fart in tour general direction :)
remember that this guy is talking about the language of my poetry. you don't care, cause your stuff is throw-away, but mine is DNA.
yeah, it's your belief and then there's theirs -- I pray for Love to grow in the hearts of men, and for believers to learn to think again -- language can be a cudgel and a crutch -- it's potentency comes from what we learned and what we think we know -- for example, it has been observed by neuro-linguists that folks who know more than one language experience time differently from those who only know one -- that's powerful -- we experience our inner dialogue in our bones -- we don't see things as they are we see them as we are ...
so, why are you here, if not for the hunt? you're a killer, not a lover. all your writing here is to ferret out prey. you need to write your own song, dude. not just do donovan karaoke.
as a teenager I held a knife to my chest with EMO fright for half a day -- I was very afraid throughout my thirties and around 42 had an epiphany that death was better off dead and I was just afraid to live -- however, surviving isn't a priority but evolving is and if I have to strip down to my core reality I'd do it in the silence of simplicity -- nevertheless, not feeling anything at all is part of the desperate attempt toward feeling anything at any cost of desperation, which is the credo of the 'I don't wanna grow old' crowd -- I remember emotions being so charged with the stresses and strainings of just growing-up and then just-growing old became lame and without any noble meaning: a sort-of gradual disappearing where people can't hear you talking anymore nor even notice you walking down the street -- the fear of disappearing and not meaning anything at all is the last form of narcissism packaged in self-deprecation - nonetheless, we do go through phase-state changes which include these unremarkable gray-wastelands which leaves us feeling better-off dead
thanks. i consider that we're writing a novel together, here, with ourselves as characters. my method is to shape-shift, as long as the key is always, 'why am i writing this?'
what are you actually looking for when you're aiming your prose responses? obviously, you're not a killer, but you're not a gatherer either. you've always had the voice of a leader, but in a discussion on the reality of language you're using language to say that language has no reality. are you a trickster?
language is the trickster as it morphs into the meme of the moment -- snippets from The Times Literary Supplement:
"It seems then, that a new dominant cultural logic is emerging; the world – or in any case, the literary cosmos – is rearranging itself. This process is still in flux and must be approached strictly in the present tense."
"Indeed, in place of postmodernism’s cool detachment, its anti-anthropomorphism, realism is once again a popular mode. Emotions, furthermore, are again playing a central role in literary fiction, as authors insist on our essential relationality – our connectedness as humans to one another in the globalizing world and with fictional characters as representations of our selves."
"... the accompanying hyper-anxiety brought about by twenty-four hour news – has made the Western world feel like a more precarious and volatile place, in which we can no longer be nonchalant about our safety or our future."
"... contemporary autofictions narrativize the self not as a game, but in order to enhance the realism of a text and tackle the sociological and phenomenological dimensions of personal life."
"And with the end of postmodernism’s playfulness and affectation, we are better placed to construct a literature that engages earnestly with real-world problems. This new literature can, in good faith, examine complex and ever-shifting crises – of racial inequality, capitalism and climate change – to which it is easy to close one’s eyes."
so, you do understand that you're a 'postmodern relativist' and that i'm a realist to the degree that i think that poetry writing and art making re-merges the body and mind into living whole, instead of just a body waiting for mind to tell it what to eat?
reading a poem makes the body move in rhythm. if the poem doesn't make the body react in some rhythmic way, then it's not a poem.
just feeling or believing what the author says is passive -- religion stuff or porn.
cadmium and AlchemiA: With any rate there are some parts in here that I may not agree with in the future, and I will promptly change it. I, however, appreciate that you did respond.
I would like to note that I had not done much systematic experiments in this essay to be sure whether it is true or not for a wide range of people - this is mostly drawing from my experiences. Perhaps it will be a research journal.
The content, as it is, hovers around ethics and essentials, which comprises telling what matters, explaining why, the result of missed opportunity, the source of egotism (which is not opening up), and how it is extinguished (by opening up), the strive to do it better and how expectations frames the wrong picture in attempting so, the call to realise that different approaches have different advantages and different disadvantages, likewise.
There. If I deliver something like this, will you read?
Perhaps. I always felt it will end badly, as there is no reason I wanted to bore my reader with that, but you have said it (not necessarily precisely to what you want to mean, but what I felt based on what you wrote, tasting just small segments of your texts), so hats off to you. I shall do and see.
There is a reason why I ended up doing ethics in my own arrangements. In my country, the Muslims (I am a Muslim) are very lax in their accountability and duties (I cringed when I typed this, as why should I complain this in front of you who cannot advice anything related to this matter?). They may feel that they did it and want to, but they do not. I find this very aggravating, as it shows why our behaviour are worse than the Europeans. Some never see that as the cause, they said that it can only be done by raising arms and fight. I beg to differ that it is not the case. It is our own behaviour, me included, that causes the downfall. I know that when we did it with full accountability and finished all duties, it did not result in anything like the Umayyad and Abbasid Calliphate - no (I will have to tell them that). The result is where we end up to - a resolution, or a mess? So that is from the point from where I care, and not go anywhere else, simply because it is beneficial to me.
The story behind this all comes from the desert in Mecca in 600++ A.D.. Here I will tell you that I did not just blindly followed this man: in fact: I cringed on several sentences he uttered (mostly due to edgy feeling of the utterance). However, it rarely occurs once you know where he came from and what experience he has been through, then, for now, I accepted it as it is as a human thing. His ideals resonate with me and I hope, insya-Allah, that until I went to my grave that I follow him.
Perhaps I have done my stuff in a wrong site. I thank you for your response, again.
Perhaps it is so. Then, I shall move on then. Thank you for attempting to fire myself to find my way out.
* "until I went to my grave that I follow him" - should be: follow him through and through.
alchemia (bless his holy name ) will tell you that any expression in hope is an expression of love. you should think deeply about what he says, because he's saying that to us in english.
'snickers' - Cad - I like you, however, Social-Media and Facebook particularly is too one-sided without a 'dislike' button! Perhaps a few buttons which reflect our core-feelings and values, such as a 'significant' button with its opposite 'insignificant' too. A button for 'incompetent' as well as 'competent.' Those would reflect things better than the 'like' button alone. Doncha' think?
random 'friends' come and go, whether it's where you live or any other place you show your face, but this I know, that if you wanna' grow, wanna' embrace that grace, then you wanna' have friends that feel out of pace with your winning Master-Race, and friends that show-up broken and crying in your space, and friends who are not just clones of you, doing the same things you are compelled to do, and friends that'll quietly take your hand when you don't know what's going on, and friends that'll give you a firm push when you felt your life was finally done...
I remember the school yard, where tribal approval ratings were the thing, judged well if you wore the latest and greatest bling, and then another compelling day of whispered-opinion, when you felt their snickering derision; we sometimes have this need to feel special and cool, not just one of the herd, one of the clan, and yet, if you did not feel you belong, you'd be longing to all along, whether woman or a man -- rather than looking-away, we ought to be living like we were the first person who ever dared to say, 'hey, it's OK, I'd of loved you anyway...'
‘The love of a true-friend pierces the heart and batters the head’ -- like Cad's aka Joey's poetry polemic crits
we're really a lot like 'Le Petit Prince a novel by Antoine de Saint Exupéry,' that child-of-castles-in-the-air, in that we're all bubbles of brilliant shimmering hues bouncing and bullying each other around, looking for ways to merge with each other, leaking through our surface tension, wiggling or waiting for that 'special' one to burst us free, to really be whom we ought to be; beautifully-fractured-reflecting ones -- life is real, only then, when I am bursting at the seams of what I assumed 'I' really means...
"Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know. When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you'll want more! It's true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don't care. Once you've tasted the truth, you won't ever want to go back to being ignorant"
Socrates : Greek philosopher, mentor to Plato (469 - 399 BC)
Source: The Allegory of the Cave and Book 7, The Republic
i've always looked for the person who seemed to buzz on the level i buzz on, because that one is mostly into the same things i am, has found those things because they're just more beautiful. music, motion, graphics, wording and words. i don't need a posse, nor want to be in one.