The poems in this collection, originally titled On “Silence” and Other Words, are organized around three ideas: silence, speech and noise.
In our noisy world, poetic speech strives to be profound, to come from the most meaningful region of silence.
The following poem is featured on the back cover of the book.
You were a man of few words,
your language was carnal, part of autumn’s south wind,
written in water calligraphy.
You named the world for me,
took me by the hand
over rugged trails
and you sharpened my red carpenter’s pencil
so my handwriting would have no flourishes,
On evenings when I’m feeling my way,
on these blind and infinite nights,
I wish I could turn to the land the shroud hid from me,
to the attic of my memory —which houses no
blind windows, locks
and make bygone times last forever
so your silence might know the present and the future.
This is why I wish to write every night
in the bloodshot language of your eyes,
in unadorned waterwriting.
– Translated by Kymm Coveney