Six out of seven voices

Only one poem left to do for Seven Voices this term! The last three themes were ‘conceal‘, for which I wrote about Project MKUltra; ‘curiosity‘, a poem about losing my faith; and ‘recursion‘, a nerdy language poem I wrote after seeing the excellent film Arrival, which stars Amy Adams as a linguist(!) whose job is to learn the language of the aliens whose ships have mysteriously appeared all around the planet before humanity self-destructs.

I’ll just post the last poem here because I think it’s better than the other two (and because I want to persuade more people to go and see the film – watch the trailer below to whet your appetite).



I learn from you to speak like underwater.
And the murmurs and the curling black.
And me and him thinking through the swash.
In the middle of the meaning of your words
wrap up the stories in sentences and billowing words.
Oil-speaking soft on the ears,
pooled language – history in a circle,
circles in circles, everything again and again,
the unending unpacking of sounds and sights
into me and you and they want to speak to us.
The horoscope speech, wrapped around.
And in the words thrumming
through the shell of cloud.
At the feet of the smoke-plume
swimming words
every memory:
reunpack and push through the fog.

Are you learning?

Can you read me?

Let’s start with the pronouns.


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