“The Beautifully Said Thing”

Poet Nikki Finney has described poetry as “where the beautifully said thing meets the really difficult to say thing.” Finney grew up in an era “when difficult things were being said and shouted and screamed”; she remembers thinking “those things are very, very important to hear, but there must be another way to say them so that they will truly be heard.”

She added, “that’s what art is. Art is about being provocative; art is also about beauty and if you leave the latter out, the former doesn’t matter.”

In my professional life I am perhaps Finney’s antithesis: my legal work shouts; it can be withering and arch.  (I have saved a letter from an out-of-state attorney complimenting my “lacerating prose.”)  Were it anthropomorphized, it would be an angry, be-tentacled invasive species, blanketing and suffocating its prey.

But in this other life of mine, words are something else.

I do not pretend to be a poet, but I love poetry, in prose and in music.  I love to hear and to read a beautifully-turned, arresting description or phrase.

I love words.

And as I said at my husband’s Closing Ceremonies; not being blessed with performance skills, words are all I had to offer.

I do not share the philosophy of a Jose Saramago character—who, after all, populated one of many more-and-less magnificent worlds Saramago carefully constructed with words alone: “it’s all words and only words, and beyond the words there’s nothing. . .Yes, a word, which, like all the others, can only be explained by more words, but since the words we use to explain things, successfully or not, will, in turn, have to be explained, our conversation will lead nowhere, the mistaken and the true will alternate, like some kind of curse, and we’ll never know what’s right and what’s wrong.”

Beyond the words and in words and their combinations, there is something: words can wound, just as silence can wound, but even misbegotten words, imbued with good will and feeling, can have healing powers.

Words need not be great poetry to be magical; they need not even be remotely original.

And some words are like golden dust because of purpose coupled with exquisite timing, a gift by the speaker of exactly what one needs to hear at a given time:

“I’ll be right there.”

“Do you need a Fairy God-sister?”

“It’s OK.  We’ve got everything under control.”

“Jim would have been proud.”

“I love you.”

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
(c) July, 2011 Stephanie M. Glennon

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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3 Responses to “The Beautifully Said Thing”

  1. I like the quote from Saramago..he´s one of my favorite authors. I liked this blog post as well…for some people it´s easier to express themselves beautifully!

  2. Patty says:

    Steph, I have been reading all of your posts. I save them for when I am in carpool line at Acorn school which can be long, or picking up the kids from various places. And since I don’t like to blare music for the kids, I am able to immerse myself with the background chatter of their little voices. When I read your posts, I am left with a physical heaviness on my chest. I get a sense of the depth of your loss and at the same time Jim is real and alive. I am having a hard time articulating how reading words on a page evokes a visceral and emotional response, but it does. My words seem inadequate but I do appreciate yours.

  3. Pingback: The Best Seats in the House | Love in the Spaces

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