Wednesday, August 23, 2006

There is a silence where hath been no sound

Okay, okay, I know it's formulaic to put up two poetry posts in under 24 hours, but the discussion on silence as a form of music on the Bismillah Khan post made me think of these lines from a Paz poem called 'Reading John Cage' [1]:

I hear within what I see outside,
I see within what I hear outside.
(Duchamp: I can't hear myself hearing.)
I am
an architecture
of instantaneous sounds
on a space that disintegrates.
we come across is to the point.)
invents silence,
invents space.
Factories of air.
is the space of music:
a confined
there is no silence
except in the mind.
Silence is an idea,
the fixed idea of music.
Music is not an idea:
it is movement,
sounds walking over the silence.
(Not one sound fears the silence
that extinguishes it.)
Silence is music,
music is not silence...

...Music is not silence:
it is not saying
what silence says,
it is saying
what it doesn't say.
Silence has no meaning,
meaning has no silence.
Without being heard
music slips between the two.
(Every something is an echo of nothing.)...

....Music is real,
silence is an idea."
- Octavio Paz (translated from the Spanish by Eliot Weinberger) [2]

P.S. Just in case, the title of this post comes from a Thomas Hood poem called Silence

[1] From East Slope. Cage, of course, is the most well known proponent of the theory that silence is music too.

[2] Phrases inside parantheses are in English in the original poem.



km said...

4'33" fucks people up even today.

n said...

"Silence is an idea,
the fixed idea of music"

Once, a very long time ago :), i had tried to explain silence to myself. You know how in audio cassettes one side is longer than the other? So silence is when after a really rousing song the bit with nothing plays on and it is loaded with the strains still playing in your head and the emotions it evoked are still hovering around.

drifting leaf said...

beautiful...thank you...
silence is the gap between two raindrops...
very into raindrops at this stage!! :)