Thirteen Sanskrit words for happiness
When a soprano sings ’Fly away breath’,
the room and the narrow field of vision expand
and we drift off towards dreams,
those which in the course of a single night and in similar fashion
can put a whole year of learning to shame.
The song is caught in the funnels of memory, get lost, followed by our thoughts,
noble or base. Isolated and yet linked at the same time to others’ thoughts;
complex series of considerations and sudden ideas, sighs and snaps and breaths
from us ectomorphs or introverts or us left behind, gathered here in the
semi-dark room, weighed down by Lutheran doctrines and Nordic legends.
Until light once more reaches us, and we move tentatively, recognise nerves,
hamstrings, musculature, and the alert original instincts from a
Out there a predatory bird devours its prey.
In the earth Celtic belt-buckles lie hidden.
Above us the troposphere spreads out, laden with vapour and light.
Overtones and connections, glowing,
transformed from the mud, flickers in towards an open eye, yours perhaps.
the palm of a hand is lit up, mine perhaps.
Is song simply bait, laid down to coax out thirteen Sanskrit words for happiness?
On the wall hangs the amateur painting of a rough sea.
On the floor lies the carpet, infested with all sorts of micro-organisms.
Up under the roof an indefinable vocabulary oozes away, and
not a single sentence obtains a foothold inside here.
Outdoors there is presumably some activity, so I go out, drift along the street,
address strangers on the pretext of having lost my way.
I memorise the words they use when they with great kindness attempt
to explain the way to me:
Turn right, keep left, up, down, straight ahead,
back, forward, short, long, inside, outside.
I put my trust in these directions as if they were
passwords, as if they would be able to lead me to the stocks
the day is said to keep guard over.
Is it perhaps the lizard that can be seen half-camouflaged in the cotton clouds over me,
or the outstretched deepwater fish, floating among the blue patches of sky.
Can it be the birdsfoot trefoils, sweetened and sipping at the ground, or the mountain in
silhouette, or the distant arctic seas that have swallowed ice-masses for millennia,
and that are still hungry, wasteful and dark.
Or can it quite simply be this chaste paper on which nothing has yet been written?
Everything seems to have a disproportionate faith in me, expect me to be
the shaman himself, the connection between them and the words long waited for.
The words crackle temptingly close by, then withdraw quickly, flatten out
while more between heaven and earth continue to offer themselves.
While there are still clear skies and daylight I attempt to catch twenty
consonants and nine vowels, and some unidentified particles.
From the homemade trap into which they have gone, I fetch them out, fit
them together. It seems to be a kind of language, binary and unpredictable,
and it puffs itself up into some ethereal constructions, bright-eyed and rosy-cheeked.
But when an archaic storm blows up, not unexpected here in these
parts, the consonants and vowels give way, and the whole thing tumbles in a nasty