Sunday, August 28, 2011

The beauty of language

I've already blogged about how much I enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but given my interest in brevity I didn't get a chance to delve into why. Barbery's love for language and beauty are really inspiring, especially for writers and aspiring writers. Take this quote, for example:

"Language is a bountiful gift and its usage, an elaboration of community and society, is a sacred work. Language and usage evolve over time: elements change, are forgotten or reborn, and while there are instances where transgression can become the source of an even greater wealth, this does not alter the fact that to be entitled to the liberties of playfulness or enlightened misuse when using language, one must first and foremost have sworn one's total allegiance."

(Emphasis mine)

Isn't that lovely? Doesn't it make you want to pore over a dictionary, or at least crack open a book of poetry?

In that spirit, I'll take the liberty of a second quote, this time from Langston Hughes, who taught me that I could like poetry.

Midnight Dancer
Of the jazz-tuned night,
Sweet as purple dew,
Like the pillows of all sweet dreams,
Who crushed
The grapes of joy
And dripped their juice
On you?

Excerpted from Selected Poems of Langston Hughes.

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Princess Nijma

Princess Nijma