Friday, November 21, 2008

A ramble

This week has been a wonderful mixture of things. Last night I attended the SPL School of Poets night on Edwin Morgan's publication. Ken Cockburn did a great job leading the group and we looked at the Morgan poem "The Apple's Song" in some detail and then at some of the subsequent publications that it flew off to roost in.

After that we chose a Morgan publication and tried to write a flyleaf poem for it.

I've also been following the BBC "book of the week" Don't Sleep There Are Snakes
on Radio 4 by Daniel Everett, and read by Colin Stinton

"Daniel Everett lived among the Pirahã, a small tribe of Amazonian Indians in central Brazil, whose remoteness meant that their language was incomprehensible.

He began as a linguist and a missionary, his task to translate the New Testament into their dialect. But his story tells of how, over the years, the Pirahãs changed him more than he could influence them."

I was delighted to learn that the Pirahã have no concept of number or of left and right handedness. They orientate themselves their whole lives by where they are in relation to the river at any given moment.

Nor do they have any language for the past or the future.

Everett set out to proselytize this tribe, but in the end it is they who proselytized him. In this time of thinking that we can survive a downturn by simply flogging, in every sense of the word, more out of a tired and weary planet the Piraha have much to teach us all.


Blogger Kay said...

Too true. Here in the West we all need to stop and take a lesson from those who have been quietly living close to nature for the past few decades. Perhaps we need to admit our greed and STOP. But we won't ... unless we are forced to, which may indeed be the case. The wise ones are the ones who stop to reflect and seek to learn from those wiser than ourselves, I guess.

3:37 am  
Blogger BarbaraS said...

I heard one of the episodes this week, and was mesmerised by it.

Edwin Morgan workshop sounds really good; you're taking up lots of opportunities with SPL lately :)

9:43 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks girls. It was a really good book, and I was surprised at how much the author changed over time, and the risks he took with the health and lives of his family for faith.

I'm enjoying the things I'm doing just now, as I'm not really moptivating myself enough to write.

3:50 pm  

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