Sunday, 25 October 2020


I reflected last week on the sacred nature of words, and related this to the language of the heart - that is to say, to that organ, which essentially wants as many happy feelings as can be packed into its lifetime.

Inasmuch as it is associated with consecration, the word 'sacred' is loaded with reverence, which can be risky to joy. If there is an excess of respect, barriers of fear pop up like so many mean little picket fences everywhere, and intelligently happy feelings flee forthwith. 

Of all the instruments we have at our disposal to create happy feelings, language is surely one that immediately takes pride of place. Peruse, for example, these acrobatics from one of the most beautiful clowns the English language ever had - 

"In the beginning God created heaven and earth with, it would appear, Irish labour. It took the Lord six days, and on the seventh he rested, during which time speculative builders put up Kilburn. Kilburn High Street runs three miles, that's why it looks 'shagged out'. A walk through Kilburn has left an indelible blank on my mind. The British, it is said, are made up of four races, the best of these are the Derby and the Oaks.
Kilburn was a melting pot, occasionally stirred by the National Front, an extreme political organisation whose election manifesto was 'I'll punch yer fuckin' 'ead in'. The leaders were any of them that could count up to ten without having to sit down." - from 'The Looney' by Spike Milligan

It just keeps getting hilariouser and hilariouser - so, yes: you'll have to get the book.

My point is that there is room in heaven for the Jabberwocky and all the hobbits' riddles, and even the worst limericks (okay, those might be kept under celestial shadecloth, just in case).

Whenever Christ appears to me, He does so playfully, dancingly, full of youthful sparkle, definitely bringing undiluted happy feelings. (Speaking for myself, I've had to admit that my heart simply can't cope with the crucifixion. I am one of those 'sensitive viewers' who only manage repeatedly to weep over that horror story.) 

Yes, language is sacred, but it is not nailed to a cross. It is free to dance and sing all manner of paths it finds to please human hearts in uncountable ways.

Sure, it can be misled. A writer or speaker can be enticed up all kinds of garden paths, including those in Gethsemane. But that is likely to be the subject of another blog. For now, consider yourselves ushered. Towards reading whatever gives your heart real joy.



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