Friday, February 10, 2012

Prose of the day - Joy Kogawa's Obasan

I've read a lot of poetry/prose lately that I absolutely adore. This one I'm about to share with you comes from Joy Kogawa's Obasan.


 From Goodreads: Based on the author's own experiences, this award-winning novel was the first to tell the story of the evacuation, relocation, and dispersal of Canadian citizens of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

It is so much more than that. The first page, right here:

 There is a silence that cannot speak.
There is a silence that will not speak.

Beneath the grass the speaking dreams and beneath the dreams is a sensate sea.
The speech that frees comes from the amniotic deep. To attend its voice, I can
hear it say, is to embrace its absence. But I fail the task. The word is stone.

admit it.

I hate the stillness. I hate the stone. I hate the sealed vault with its cold icon. I
hate staring into the night, the questions thinning into space. The sky swallowing
the echoes.

Unless the stone bursts with telling, unless the seed flowers with speech, there is
in my life no living word. The sound I hear is only sound. White sound. Words,
when they fall, are pock marks on the earth. They are hailstones seeking an underground

If I could follow the stream down and down to the hidden voice, would I come
at last to the freeing word ? I ask the night sky but the silence is steadfast. There is
no reply.

Don't you just love it?

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