Monday, December 12, 2011

We do not invent language...

We do not invent language, we inherit it.  Language has its own genius that re-creates itself through our use of it.  We are the means by which it grows and keeps itself alive.  Like a god, it speaks through us and survives us.  Our minds are created by language; our thinking is made possible by the structure it provides, just as our bodies know only what our senses are capable of perceiving.  And if we give ourselves to the language, embracing it, cherishing it word by word, laughing as we name the world, we may take on something of its grandeur and its majesty.  I want to say that we receive its "grace', for we enter into the community of mind that crosses time and place, containing them. Every true poem, by its very nature, is a celebration of its inheritance—the language—which is never ours, though we, in our passing, partake of its ongoing grace.

(From “On Wording,” an essay by Robert Pack in Writers on Writing, edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini, p.192)

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