Alex Skovron – If Words Could Speak

Skovron profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.

Alex Skovron is the Melbourne-based author of six collections of poetry and a prose novella. His most recent book of poetry, Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (2014), was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The Attic, a bilingual selection of his poetry translated into French, was published in 2013; Water Music, a volume of Chinese translations, appeared in 2017; and his novella The Poet (2005) and collection of stories The Man who Took to his Bed (2017) have been translated into Czech. A new volume of poems, Letters from the Periphery, is due in 2021. (to 2005 only)

If Words Could Speak

after Sarah Rice

If words could speak, why would they speak
their selves when they could
deputize a billion counterparts
to voice whatever needed to be said?
If words could sing, more nimbly than they do,
would they still need to be encased
in lexicographers’ brocade
while every tinted letter hummed along?
If words could dance, no alphabet we know
could entertain them to remain in place
but rather would they overleap the leaves
of print to learn unlettered flight?
If words could drown, would they subside
only to soundings where language swirls,
then re-emerge revitalized newclad
and dripping bright with intimations
of an unworded kingdom innocent of thought
and yet replete with mind?
If words could then aspire to everness
and watch their colours and their meanings flash
across the epochs as along a line,
why should we think so poorly of the world
that every word we speak draws us away
from every truth that every word would speak?

Behind the Scoreboard

‘Rumour, the swiftest of all evils that are.’
(Aeneid, Book IV)

When rumour breached the gates of the municipality
nobody dreamed what was about to follow
At first there was just the occasional silly mishap
since accidents after all are bound to occur
but soon a distinct pattern began to emerge
as one disaster took hold after another
The local gymnasium had its windows smashed
an antique church was reduced to a pile of cinders
the synagogue was bombed and offensive posters
materialized on every second corner
denouncing this or that established luminary
(all of them admired for their ethics and integrity)
over his or her affairs or misdemeanours
with innocent minors of whatever sex or sundry
secret embezzlements or profiteering
Then somebody got wind of something outrageous
the mayor was said to have uttered a decade back
and it wasn’t long before a few enthusiasts
had assembled behind the scoreboard at the oval
and armed with slogans sticks shovels the odd stone
set off for the business end of town

© Alex Skovron