4.27.2008

Celebrating National Poetry Month: #27

The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently

is not silent, it is a speaking-
out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It's the writer's voice,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her "voice" but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling, having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word "barn"
that the writer wrote
but the "barn" you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally -- some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirrr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows . . .
And "barn" is only a noun -- no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.
-- Thomas Lux

2 comments :

  1. Have I thanked you for these treasures you've been offering all month? I've finally posted a reflection on this month, and link to you. Thank you!

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  2. Thanks so much for mentioning me and you are welcome. I have discovered so many new poems I may have to continue to post some poems after April!

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