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[personal profile] fourzoas
Could I embody and unbosom now
That which is most within me,--could I wreak
My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw
Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak,
All that I would have sought, and all I seek,
Bear, know, feel and yet breathe--into one word,
And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
--Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III, Stanza 97

When I first read this passage of Byron's, I knew that I'd found my words. You know the ones: that perfect combination of units of meaning, the sequence of letters and spaces and punctuation marks that becomes your totem.

Of course, Byron, being a poet overwrought with great emotion about the perfection of his craft (among other things), seeks one word, one mighty utterance that would perfectly encapsulate the who, what, where, when, why, and how of him. Perhaps that's the place where writing comes from: a place that has no name, that wants to be named, that compels its own naming. Perhaps there is a word for each of us, one perfect set of symbols and sound that would render us as instantaneously as a lightning bolt.

I try on a few words.


I've struggled with this one lately. As I grow older I feel colder and like the speaker in Hopkins' poem, I am evermore aware of "the blight that man was born for." I think compassion and care but seem to have difficulty conveying it.

Last night I sat in my mother's chair listening to her best friend as she related the incidents leading up to the death of her grandson. Her daughter and I had been friends in our school days, and while I'd known of the death of her infant son by drowning 2 years ago, I hadn't heard many of the details. As I listened to her story, I thought of my own son sleeping a few feet away, and I couldn't begin to wrap my mind around the grief she felt without imagining the horror of being without him. She talked and cried. I listened and sighed and wondered if my own tears would come, if my body would give over even a few drops of visible sorrow. It didn't, and she dried her eyes and smiled, and we continued our conversation about other things. In the end, I felt as though a wall had come up between the two of us.

This word is my mother's, I think.


I finally updated the facebook application on my iPhone and have found it really quite useful. I have many friends on facebook; you don't live in five different states, attend three colleges, have 3 careers, and come from a large family without making many contacts. I always feel overwhelmed by them, the enormity of the list of people to whom I have some more-than-passing connection causing me to wince on many occasions as I realize I've missed yet another birthday/anniversary/birth/milestone/death.

I log in more frequently now that I've got that application updated. I want to keep up with people's lives and to keep them a part of mine. I find, however, that I am annoyed by the constant updating of how people are doing playing games in which I have no interest. I know that I can screen them out, but I also know that once I do that, the real lives of the people I've called friends will be laid bare before me again and again and again. There isn't a button to express sympathy or sorrow or "that's really fucked up"-edness; I can only like what you've said or offer comment.

I realize that I'm conducting a cost-benefit analysis on the maintenance of friendships. I also realize that everyone on facebook is, in some way, doing the same thing.

It's not called friendbook.


I know that we walk together; just knowing that makes life easier at times. I still find it tough, though, to be part of instead of whole on my own. I fight togetherness at times as if it were poison to my soul, even though I know that true companionship offers a continual well of sustaining water.

I'm coming to understand that in the long haul, I don't play well with others. I need to work on that.


I took that Myers-Briggs test several times in the 90s. I don't recall what my letters were, actually, but I imagine they came closest to summing up my 2,000 parts as anything else.

Of course, they're just letters.

I don't pretend to an iota of Byron's gift with words; I feel frustration mounting already, and I'm merely 3 words and 12 random letters in. I rest and keep looking.

What's your word?

This entry is written in response to the Week 10 topic at [ profile] therealljidol. Thanks for reading.

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