A lovers discourse

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after Barthes

My language trembles with desire.
It is as if I had words instead of fingers
(or fingers at the tips of my words).
What I hide by my language, my body utters.

If only I had words instead of these fingers —
…perhaps we shall never see each other again…
what I hide in my language, my body utters
…perhaps we shall meet but fail to recognise each other…

…perhaps we shall never see each other again…
Our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us
so that when we meet we’ll fail to recognise each other.
Writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing.

…our exposure to different seasons has changed us…
I know / I know
writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing
yet still my language trembles with desire.


Image: Man and woman on a Malvern Star abreast tandem bicycle, c. 1930s, by Sam Hood c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr. (A wonder this design didn’t catch on). A pantoum based on Roland Barthes ‘A lovers discourse’ (1977). A pantoum is a repeating form of verse well-suited to obsessing. There’s much more here.

And for your pleasure here’s…Maurice Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor (the second movement is a…wait for it… ‘pantoum’.)

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