Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Language again

Last night we enjoyed looking at language, its origins, the way that written literature is structured by looking at the classics. We ended up on a big discussion of metaphor.

Personally I think metaphors evoke sense memories. I could describe someone in adjectives (he was unemotional, distant) or in terms of his actions (he spoke in monosyllables, sticking to the facts) but 'cold fish' (even though hackneyed) says it all. 'He was an emotional mackerel' says it too!

This class always leads me back to poetry. I fell in love with Billy Collins' Aristotle and that flavoured the whole discussion for me. I loved the poems of Sappho, the metaphors there lead to sense memories of trembling and matching it to passion, delicate fragments of very persoanl poetry. But the Iliad got me the most, Chistopher Logue's poetic arrangement is lovely, a real epic poem.

We then had to make up creation myths - this one for music. Apologies for this first draft!

At the beginning, the world was silent. Rivers flowed like glass, like ice. The wind tiptoed between the trees and the animals creeped. They saw the perfect, silent world and feared shattering it. They lived in the silence, as if it was dark, as if they were still.

Animals bred in silence with other animals. Mice mated with fish to produce toads, worms mated with lizards to produce snakes. Finally, a squirrel and a grasshopper produced a baby, all hands and feet and tail, which climbed and swung and jumped all day. It was the first monkey.
'Mother,' smiled the monkey, 'where are you?' But the mother was hiding discreetly in the canopy, and did not see her.
'Father,' waved the monkey, 'where are you?' But the father was hiding discreetly in the grass, and did not feel her.
The baby couldn't wait any longer. She opened her mouth and filled her lungs with sweet air. She screeched, a noise so loud it shattered the silence into tiny pieces, to blow away like dust.

All the other animals called back with squeaks, chirps, clicks or howls; the rivers started to tumble in their new sounds; the leaves played with the wind and the music of the world was born. The fish liked their bubbly, splashy music and made only more fish. The birds liked their singing or shrieking or hooting and made only more birds. Of all the animals, the monkeys and his children and grandchildren made the most music, and prospered in the new world.

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