LITERATURE [short texts]

Words and their universes

Oriol Espinal

magazine collaboration / 2008

How many words fit into one word, I asked myself this afternoon, shortly after having read that admirable story by Borges entitled La escritura del dios (The Writing of the God). The question has prompted me to write some reflections on polysemy and the universes of language that do not deserve to be reproduced. Then, giving a new direction to my discourse, I said to myself, by way of consolation, that if my few virtues did not include the ability to enunciate in a single word an infinite concentration of facts, things and concepts, I could speak of certain voices that by themselves were capable of generating in my mind a greater profusion of associated ideas. What or how much, for example, can be found in the word nothing, I wrote in my notebook before adding: For the moment, I would say that in addition to the anagrams Adam (clay transmuted into flesh and consciousness by the one god Yahweh Elohim) or Dana (progenitor of Dagda, the Good God of the Celts), all terms relating to the origin that precedes death, as well as the scene where all sunrises and sunsets take place. If, on the contrary, I pronounce the word rose, in my mind are concatenated Dante's paradise, the erupting Vesuvius and the open sex of Venus, but also the names of Coleridge, Wagner and Joyce, the name of my grandfather, who painted the most beautiful white rose of all those ever painted, or the name of those others who are the heritage of the god who broke away from himself and visited the deserts where roses of plaster and sand (also the Jericho ones) do not have, contrary to Burt Norton's, “the look of flowers that are looked at”. But what would have become of the Rose without all that the word periphrasis entails, a word that does not usually stimulate my memory, but which whenever I read or hear it challenges me to invent phrases that define it, such as, for example, the one I transcribe below: An art that allows the poet to work such wonders as transforming the word seed into a leafy tree where the voices that designate its totality and that of the pieces that make it up reside. Today, this art, like so many others, has entered a decadence that is precipitating it towards an outcome that is not too difficult to guess, since neither the intelligence services of the empires, which have opted for algorithms, use it to generate complex coded languages, nor do the chroniclers of this century, and much less the poets, venture to write, as the Viking Egill Skallagrímsson did, “the dew of the sword” to refer to blood. In any case, there will always be those who go for excess. I know of a scribbler (he is currently trying to find a gap in the plot of one of my unfinished stories) who likes to indulge, I don't know if it is for the purpose of inflaming the hilarity of his readers, in verbal pyrotechnics of the type “The ripe fruit that twenty years ago was detached from the shadow of the fleeing soul, was glad that the tongue of the most beautiful of those whom she had blinded with her artemisic glow, metamorphosed the air into petals of invisible velvet, and that when they rested on the portal of her snowy shell, they flooded the recesses of her soft and excitable cavern with chaste tingles”. All this to tell us that the daughter of the deceased had been comforted by hearing her fiancé's words of consolation.