I used to think the power of words was inexhaustible,
That how we said the world
was how it was, and how it would be.
I used to imagine that word-sway and word-thunder
Would silence the Silence and all that,
That worlds were the Word,
That language could lead us inexplicably to grace,
As though it were geographical.
I used to think these things when I was young.
I still do.
– Charles Wright “Body and Soul”
I just came from a poetry reading by Charles Wright, and I had to share this with you. I had read it before, but something about his intonation charged it for me and made it new. As I was listening, I heard the truth of the nostalgia. I used to think this. I used to have this grand view of language. I used to. I used to. We are getting prepared for the great change of adulthood. When you hear it and aren’t able to scan the page to the end, and the words fade away as much as the belief of childhood, you feel for a moment like that’s all there is.
But then, the full power of the final line comes through. And it has the final say.
“I still do”