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What Does Your Soul Know? *
Judith Deem Dupree

                                        What can it say perfectly,
                                        without stumbling or seizing up
                                        in clumsily deciphering itself?
                                        I am fraught with all the ills
                                        of borrowed language-
                                        that self-imposed jurisdiction
                                        of the acceptable, the useful.
                                        A genial kind of babble, a glib
                                        that trips the tongue, that
                                        stutters it like something foreign.

                                        But I begin to practice carefully,
                                        rehearsing not the words,
                                        but how they happen-exploring
                                        what they shape from what
                                        I do not know beneath them.

                                        Like Demosthenes, mouth full
                                        of pebbles, I cheek my smallish
                                        thoughts and speak between,
                                        around them, gargling back
                                        for something truer, craving
                                        deeper-whatever wants to tell
                                        what it was born of.

     * From a comment made by film writer Barbara Nicolosi at a workshop: "Don't write 'what you know'; write what your soul knows."

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