How do you talk? Or, rather, speak? We all
Can talk at length, and breadth, but few can speak.
Mere talk is not enough to break a fall,
To mend a hurt or puncture the mystique
That like a shroud envelops life, and death,
And everything that’s in between the two.
And what is that? What separates his breath,
Her cry, their laughs, your final sigh from you?
Promise me this, my tongue-tied friends:
Always remember, your words count.
Funny and beautiful,
Ugly and heart-breaking;
Shout from the rooftops or
Whisper in cloisters that
Echo with love-songs and
Poems and centuries
Crammed with the lives and the
Loves and the words of the
Ones that have gone before;
I don’t mind what you say, or when, or how or to whom you say it,
But even if you only ever get to do it once, say something!
‘Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.’ – Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses.
Oddly prophetic given what happened when the book was published. There can’t be many people who know more about language and courage than Salman Rushdie.