The Language of the World

The Language of the World

In childhood I danced to another tune,
so odd, I thought the gypsies had left me.
At nine I awoke to the call of creativity,
for a golden hour or two. Up and down
the alphabet I travelled, eyeing up words,
never finding the same word-flute twice.
Being of two hearts I wanted to be liked,
but secretly I longed to be the real thing.

A is for alcohol not the ruddy red apple
I grasped, while watching in fear as booze
transformed my lonely, introverted father
into a wild, highly dramatic personality.
Elvis, all shook up, drunk on tramp juice.
Mute, I spoke only in hesitant sentences,
for I would rather heed the silences of life
than listen to the cruel vagaries of his ego.

Alcohol lashed my father, washed away
his soul-vision and courageous brushes.
Yet I felt the push to unearth my father’s
language, where shadows must be faced.
For darkness and light meet in each soul,
arriving and leaving in numinous ways.
This is how the artist, I guess, must pay
for inflaming and wearing out the heart.

Father, thank you for applying the pain
so thickly, for making an artist out of me.
All my years I have been wakening to this;
your sorrow has become the joy of my life.
I shed tears at this heroic understanding,
revering each of your wild, savage blows.
To right the ruin, I move closer to the soul,
hold near the mysterious stranger within.

Kiss your inner earth dear poet. Love it.
Receive the muse, heed the call to awaken,
work hard to shape your creative visions.
Love everything. Seek folly, seek wisdom.
Let others receive and face in themselves
that same call to creativity as your own.
Let your wild heart pirouette, lay bare
to all dancers, the language of the world.


Copyright © Deborah Gregory 2016
Image credit: Google Images

16 thoughts on “The Language of the World

  1. Benjamin sent me over. Thanks for posting your Golden Nuggets. As a spoken word poet I recognize how my parents made me an artist. The family legacy isn’t discussed often enough in my books. My crazy parents divorced when I was 2yrs old. I grew up, turned out a poet. It saved my life. The pleasure’s mine Deborah.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply TongueNation (btw that’s a great ‘poet’ name!) and welcome to my poetry blog. ‘Family legacy’ I like the way you put that, as an inheritance is certainly what it is. In my early adult life I saw my legacy as more curse than blessing … until the day it saved my life! Thankfully, the creative penny dropped, and I began to discover ‘the language of the world.’ Hi to B, thanks for dropping by TN! 🙂 

  2. Inspired! The images grab me and make me see.

    “Up and down
    the alphabet I traveled eyeing up words…”
    “Elvis, all shook up, drunk on tramp juice…”

    The poem is tough and delicate, dark and light, brutal and spiritual.
    With loving gratitude to you and your muse, Elaine

    1. Thank you so much Elaine for sharing your truly inspiring reflection on my poem. I’m delighted that you were able to see and feel ‘the tension of the opposites’ within my words. As all artists and poets recognise, we simply hold the pen or brush, while yielding to our muses within to bring forth the restorative soul. Love and blessings, Deborah.

  3. An honest and courageous piece on not only overcoming adversity but using it as your stimulus to create and produce outstanding works. So much art, be it painting, photography, performing, composing or words being weaved together is inspired from such dark beginnings and you have done this beautifully as always Deborah.

    On reflection – the other day I watched an Andrea Arnold film “Fish Tank” – her work is often set in poor neighbourhoods with girls growing up in challenging family environments. Her work is always so gritty and gripping – on looking at her own background she was born to a 16 yr old mother and 17year old father who abandoned the family and left her mum to bring up 4 children alone – so her creativity is inspired by her own experience and perhaps brings clarity and healing to her??

    Anyway I’m rambling – thank you for reminding me that the path of creativity is also one of healing and connecting to the soul.

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your generous, kind-hearted comment. I agree whole-heartedly with you re overcoming adversity and dark beginnings and despite this sounding crazy, every day that I write is another thanksgiving for me! I’m a huge fan of Andrea Arnold and have two of her films. I didn’t know anything about her childhood yet find myself interested to discover more.

      However art is presented, whether by film, painting, poem or music (or in a million other ways) I describe it as a circle of love, which passes from the giver to the receiver and back again. For when truly touched by a masterpiece a person hears in themselves that same call of truth, and creativity. It’s a beautiful thing, beyond words. Please know I am greatly encouraged by your wonderful words here today. Warm greetings, Deborah.

  4. Thank you Deborah, truly poetically inspiring albeit challenging to break open the heart and find the language of the world and express it …

    I’m reminded that alcohol is a spirit and it can be ‘in-spiriting’, but whichever way, I believe for those who (unconsciously) seek to drown in the spirit, it is their way of looking to be ‘spirited’ or ‘inspired’ …

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your wonderful reply and apt reminder of the spiritual quality of alcohol. At night in dreams I often found myself in a pub getting high with my animus. In fact I’ve realised that by recording them this is the best way to watch my creative animus, and see what he’s getting up to.

      Drunk in the unconscious my father’s Senex (wise man) wasn’t able to function, so clear vision and communication for him was out of reach. Keeping the Senex drunk he lived on Puer energy alone. Never wanting to grow up, never wanting to return to earth with its infuriating limits and boundaries.

      With alcohol in particular I guess many try to leave the paradox of the opposites and this I believe is where many a problem begins because we’re not meant to leave that tension, for darkness and light are not only needed but are necessary within the soul. Blessings, Deborah.

  5. Creativity is (without doubt) the language of the world. Whether artistes or not, each of us recognises creative expression. Let me tell you a story – nine years ago on the train a young man started to recite his poetry to bemused passengers. For ten minutes I sat there and listened to his creativity while his words took me to Paris, my mother’s death and back again. I know I cannot erase this memory (nor would I want to) or the awakening that followed. However, it is only today that I recognise, by answering that call to creativity in myself, I altered the course of my life. Deborah, your poem brings back precious memories and deeper understandings. Thank you, all the best, Liz.

    1. Thank you so much Liz for sharing your ‘waking up’ story and your wonderful comment, much appreciated. I remember many moons ago something similar happening when I stopped to listen to a young couple singing in the underground. They simply gave the performance of their lives down there that morning and I recall feeling truly transported. Creativity is certainly the great awakener, I like to think that it has other names too. Love, being one of them.

      Last week as I visited galleries in and around London I noticed many street performers outside the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square and another French-looking circus-like performer walking on wire. All were surrounded by large crowds of onlookers of many different nationalities. Aha! Creativity is ‘The Language of the World’ I thought and so the poem began. Warm greetings, Deborah.

      1. Hi Deborah, having caught up with your recent poems, I returned for a second read of “The Language of the World.” This is fast becoming a very special poem for me, Liz.

        1. It’s lovely to see you Liz, Aha! Creativity evokes the best of memories doesn’t it! Thank you for dropping by. Bright spring wishes, Deborah.

  6. Well Deborah, what can I say…. .YOU DO IT EVERY TIME!!!
    I’m with Picasso can I pre-order a copy of your 2nd book please??!
    You’re right the call to creativity is a waking up moment for everyone. Mine came during junior school around 7/10 years old if I remember.
    Thanks for sharing you “danced to another tune” that’s really helped because I remember enjoying those golden hours myself but also felt like a freak because I opted to miss my break times and stay in drawing. I drew loads of pictures but didn’t keep them. This is probably why I’m keeping my daughter’s pre-school pictures. I loved drawing!!
    Back to your fab poem, wowee this line!!!
    “Elvis, all shook up, drunk on tramp juice.” SENSATIONAL!!!
    I still remember your “White Lightning” story from the other place!!
    What you wrote about your dad is painful. You blow me away by choosing not to hate him but recognise instead how you became an artist. I think to know this and still reconcile yourself to that painful knowledge is incredible. You broke my heart when I read…..
    “All my years I have been wakening to this;
    your sorrow has become the joy of my life.”
    You break the family code. This poem deserves many rereads, the subject of creativity alone keeps me BUZZING!!
    The picture of the apple is great, NO!!! it’s more than great! It says it all really. How’s that for creativity? ? to carve the world out of a single apple. I’m off to write a new poem, thanks for the inspiration dear poet.

    1. Firstly, thank you so much Claire for your great comment. I really enjoyed reading about your love of drawing at school which helps me understand your later appreciation and enjoyment of photography even more. I think many creative people are deeply introverted and can feel different than others. A book I found most helpful on this is ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. It’s extraordinary, do check out the reviews on amazon, I think you’d love it! I kept my children’s early arty stuff too, my favourite is a long pull out alphabet drawn with symbols and animals for each letter. It’s wonderful!

      Likewise, thank you for your kind-heartedness regarding those two lines. The day I finally recognised how I became an artist was happy and then heart-breaking by turns. Since making the link between my writing and my father’s creativity, I have learnt much. I guess this is where hate and fear melt down, and insight and knowledge seep in. Apologies for late reply, I’m on lunch break now. Warm greetings, Deborah.

  7. “A is for alcohol not the ruddy red apple.” Every reader’s jaw will drop there Deborah! Not only do you teach us the language of the world, you tear open our hearts and reveal your inner earth to all. The allegory of the apple speaks volumes, bang on metaphor for tramp juice. Artists dance to another tune, well that’s for sure, lol! you know how crazy we poets can be!! Brave and honest writing as always. Can you get going on your next book please? Go get ‘em stargirl!!

    1. Hi Picasso, Thank you so much for another of your inspiring visits and leaving me more artistic stardust to create with! Tearing open our hearts is the way of the poet, n’est-ce pas? Ha-ha! I couldn’t resist the ‘tramp-juice’ apple and the whole metaphor around its symbolism. For me the apple powerfully evokes the Garden of Eden story, banishment and loss of Paradise, amongst other mythical melodies. Happy writing dear poet! As its Leap Day this crazy poet is off a’ leaping! Deborah.

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