A Little Language
I know a little language of my cat, though Dante says
that animals have no need of speech and Nature
abhors the superfluous. My cat is fluent. He
converses when he wants with me. To speak
is natural. And whales and wolves I’ve heard
in choral soundings of the sea and air
know harmony and have an eloquence that stirs
my mind and heart—they touch the soul. Here
Dante’s religion that would set Man apart
damns the effluence of our life from us
to build therein its powerhouse.
It’s in his animal communication Man is
true, immediate, and
in immediacy, Man is all animal.
His senses quicken in the thick of the symphony,
old circuits of animal rapture and alarm,
attentions and arousals in which an identity rearrives.
particular voices among
the concert, the slightest
rustle in the undertones,
rehearsing a nervous aptitude
yet to prove his. He sees the flick
of significant red within the rushing mass
of ruddy wilderness and catches the glow
of a green shirt
to delite him in a glowing field of green
—it speaks to him—
and in the arc of the spectrum color
speaks to color.
The rainbow articulates
a promise he remembers
he but imitates
in noises that he makes,
this speech in every sense
the world surrounding him.
He picks up on the fugitive tang of mace
amidst the savory mass,
and taste in evolution is an everlasting key.
There is a pun of scents in what makes sense.
Myrrh it may have been,
the odor of the announcement that filld the house.
He wakes from deepest sleep
upon a distant signal and waits
as if crouching, springs to life.
Robert Duncan's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Little Language by Robert Duncan )
- In Living Memory (11-22-63), John F. McCullagh
- Music, Fatima Nusairat
- what swanky sap is this?, Mandolyn ...
- Natural, David Chap Bottoms
- I end poem, hasmukh amathalal
- here's my armadillo, now get me a pillow.., Mandolyn ...
- A, Vera Sidhwa
- With her ability, hasmukh amathalal
- Inhuman way, hasmukh amathalal
- THERE IS…, michael walkerjohn
Poem of the Day
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
- Heather Burns
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)