Monday, 5 October 2009

opening the door.

I have a friend with whom I share a book. We write in it and then send it across oceans, to read and muse over and send again.

It is a beautiful process of boomeranging.

Anyway, one day I had some people over and was sharing something I had written in the book with some strange folk from Tasmania. Low and behold, next day there was a word written lovingly inside the front cover that had not been there earlier.

One word. It mystified me for at least a month, but was happy to let it mysitfy me, cos it felt familiarly familiar. So anyway, amazingly it gives a voice to the force which thus has been unexplainable. The strange concept which is not a concept but a space that leaves you somewhere else....that is where it, I, you possibly dwell.

There is no literal translation. English is so restrictive and limited.

Here is what someone said about it (though the Spanish poet Lorca wrote about it too):

[So, then, the duende is a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.]
Someone else said:
[The duende….Where is the duende? Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things. ]

This is the house in which I live.


  1. I think, as artists, we should always try to move up beyond technique-- into that scary, unknown, expression of self-- this is how i interpreted your words anyway.. the words about duende are beautiful.

  2. Hey! That's flipping awesome!
    I love the poem and what a word!

    I have a song for you that describes another word with similar weight, depth, awesomeness!

    Check out Tinpan Orange album: 'The Bottom of the Lake' Final track 'Saudade'

    I think you'll like it. It describes the sensation of learning a new word that has no equivalent in our language.

  3. is that tinpan orange song the whiskey song...shit cos if it is i saw them play at the market one night and cried me heart out....shux. Loving the build up and mangoes eh.