Monday, July 14, 2008

No, I Am Not a Pescatarian

Merriam-Webster's has added, yet again, about 100 hundred words in the dictionary -- from the clearly preposterous-sounding to those which should have been included a long time ago.

Pescatarian refers to a vegetarian whose diet includes fish.

Thus, definitely, I am not a pescatarian. I prefer meat; pork to be exact. On the other hand, I can also be possibly called a netroot, or one whose grassroots advocacy - human rights for me actually - is made known through the internet. But I definitely am not a wing nut -- or one who advocates extreme measures or changes.

But this is not the reason why I began this blog entry (and to be sure a spontaneous one). The reason is that unlike any other manifestation of human intelligence (humint in spy-speak but which of course means something else altogether), language evolves and perhaps will never die. With it, language becomes more dynamic, more alive.

The dynamism of language can be seen in every culture, nation or state. Poetry and novel are perhaps (my literature professors would probably kill me for saying this) archetypes of language. In all forms and lengths, poems and stories can be found in all the corners of this earth. This is what keeps me drawn to language and to all the fruits of man's fascination of and playing with it.

I am including here one of my favorite poems, in fact my favorite of Rainer Maria Rilke, entitled:


Spanish Dancer

As on all its sides a kitchen-match darts white
flickering tongues before it bursts into flame:
with the audience around her, quickened, hot,
her dance begins to flicker in the dark room.

And all at once it is completely fire.

One upward glance and she ignites her hair
and, whirling faster and faster, fans her dress
into passionate flames, till it becomes a furnace
from which, like startled rattlesnakes, the long
naked arms uncoil, aroused and clicking.

And then: as if the fire were too tight
around her body, she takes and flings it out
haughtily, with an imperious gesture,
and watches: it lies raging on the floor,
still blazing up, and the flames refuse to die -
Till, moving with total confidence and a sweet
exultant smile, she looks up finally
and stamps it out with powerful small feet.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell, Spanish Dancer embodies what poetry in motion is really like. With every word and enjambment, I can see clearly how the flamenco dancer flicker and flit from a dart of white tongue flame to a furnace that consumes not only her dress, but the attention of the audience; consumes them so much that the visual is the Spanish dancer and nothing, and no one, else. Everything around her is dark, despite the luminescence of the rattlesnake uncoiling; the fire of the dancer spreading like an uncoiling snake.

The visual impact is simply stunning, and I can't help but clap with the dancer and to stamp with her as she stamps the last ember of the dance with her powerful small feet.

This is language at its best.

No comments: