Jack Gilbert

(1925 - / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart


How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,
God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of copper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the wind's labor.
Her breasts are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not laguage but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds.


Anonymous submission.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: dream, joy, people, lost, home, wind, dark, heart, light, god, horse, poem, smile

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Forgotten Dialect Of The Heart by Jack Gilbert )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Gwendolen Salvail (10/12/2009 10:27:00 PM)

    Absolutly beautiful... He makes it sound like language and words are a kind of magic we haven't fully grasped yet. I love it. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. I KNEW LOVE, SHARON YAKOWA
  2. I'm Still Here, Stephen Morris Jr
  3. tramp, lee fones
  4. Leaves On The Grass, Poetic Lilly Emery
  5. Thought Process, Mitta Xinindlu
  6. Kind Santa, lee fones
  7. The Farmworker, Terry Dawson
  8. blow up doll, lee fones
  9. Please Mommy, Stephen Morris Jr
  10. Bruce Lee, A Star Sinked in the Sea of Art, Joseph Oladehinde Ibikunle

Poem of the Day

poet Joseph Addison

Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
Magna virûm! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes.
Virg. Geor. 2.

...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. Oh, the places you'll go!, Adens Kamwi
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. "Why do I love" You, Sir?, Emily Dickinson
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Remember, Christina Georgina Rossetti

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]