6 posts tagged sleep
“Subject: Thoughts for sleep
“the blackbird’s whistle has this special quality: it is identical to a human whistle, the effort of someone not terribly skilled at whistling but with good reason for whistling, this once, only this once, not intending to continue, a person who does it in a determined but modest and affable tone, calculated to win the indulgence of anyone who hears him.
After a while the whistle is repeated-by the same blackbird or by its mate-but always as if this were the first time it had occurred to him to whistle; if this is a dialogue, each remark is uttered after long reflection. But is it a dialogue, or does each blackbird whistle for itself and not for the other? And in whichever case, are these questions and answers (to the whistler or to the mate) or are they confirmations of something that is always the same thing (the bird’s own prescence, his belonging to this species, this sex, this territory)? Perhaps the value of this single word lies in its being repeated by another whistling beak, in its not being forgotten during the interval of silence.
Or else the whole dialogue consists of one saying to the other “I am here,” and the length of the pauses adds to the phrase the sense of a “still,” as if to say: “I am here still, and it is still I.” and what if it is in the pause and not in the whistle that the meaning of the message is contained. If it were in the silence that the blackbirds speak to each other? (In this case the whistle would be a punctuation mark, a formula like “over and out.”) a silence, apparently the same as another silence, could express a hundred different notions; a whistle could too, for that matter. To speak to one another by remaining silent, or by whistling, is always possible; the problem is understanding one another. Or perhaps no one can understand anyone: each blackbird believes that he has put into his whistle a meaning fundamental for him, but only he understands it; the other gives him a reply that has no connection with what he has said; it is a dialogue between the deaf, a conversation without a head or tail.”