another haiku by Alan Bern
left on the hard dirt
spelling baby sounds
This one’s so clever it’s a bit cute. Yet I find a lot of charm in the small space of it. The toy plastic letters trying to make words, trying out combos that remain meaningless. Fun metaphor for the infant’s experiments in speech. The “hard” dirt … this language work is hard! The letters were abandoned – like many a toy – the additional metaphorical work of being abandoned projects, noises that refused to achieve meaning so were left behind. These letters, not just toys, but tools, but treated with the carelessness of the easily replaced, the quickly passed beyond. And they are outside, not scattered on the carpet, but in some yard or park, out of context of the particular child, almost natural, as though they are not language, but just random sounds.
source: “First Steps” in Waterwalking in Berkeley, by Alan Bern