Lexicon : Sophia Nugent Siegal

“As poets and as readers we are both the users and the transmitters of this lexicon. Today we need to keep adding not subtracting meaning, remembering not forgetting, to connect ourselves to the chain that ultimately joins all cultures.”

Sophia Nugent-Siegal

Welcome to Lexicon

CONVERSATION with SophiaWittgenstein famously concluded his Tractatus with the memorable comment: “Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent”.

Unlike Ludwig, Sophia, in whose memory this site is maintained, did not accept “remaining silent” as a viable intellectual option—not because she thought ultimate meaning any more expressible than did Wittgenstein, but because she thought the battle was necessary.

Heroic, doomed to failure, absolutely essential.

Read on …

Tuesday’s child is full of grace

Tuesday’s child is full of grace You were born on a Tuesday. It was a Tuesday on your last birthday in this world. (How strange yet precise are the patterns of a life.) You were 22. Ten years have passed since that last birthday. You are still 22. Your sweet face looks out at us in the lovely photographs your Auntie Kaye took that day—“dear little Sophie” as one of the doctors treating you at the hospital used to say. It is your birthday today. You are 22. Your death was, and is, shocking, but it is the present tense

There is a burning in the garden…

There is a burning in the garden… Two of Sophia’s poems were printed in the journal of creative and spiritual exploration, Jesus the Imagination, published by the US Center for Sophiological Studies, Angelico Press (Vol  Vl: MMXXll, pp 92-93). Sophiology is premised on the idea of divine wisdom. Usually conceptualised in female terms, divine wisdom has links to the concept in Jewish mysticism of the Shekhinah or dwelling place. In a sense, to search for wisdom is to make in oneself, and of oneself, an interior space for experience of the divine. I The first of the poems is concerned with the

The Lovely Haunting

The Lovely Haunting Last year some of Sophia’s poems from Rough Sleepers, the collection written in her last year of life, were submitted to two journals—two very different types of journals, with very different readerships (chosen quite deliberately). Both accepted her poems. As the work has now been published and the journals distributed, Sophia’s poems can also be placed here, on Lexicon. A sequence of three poems, The Torments, has been published in one of the UK’s most innovative poetry magazines, Shearsman (in the Spring 2023 edition, Vols. 135 & 136, pp 11-13). Thought-provoking and exploratory, Shearsman features original voices and profound

Seeing, Being…

Seeing, Being… Like Alice’s bluebell, though not surprised into view, Sophia’s soul is visible in this photograph. Seeing and being… Sophia thought a great deal about being. In Rough Sleepers, her last collection, the nature of human consciousness—what it is to be a thinking, sensate yet spiritual being—is a central theme. One of the poems from a longer sequence, A Hot Summer, written in response to the death of her father (a year after his death and a year before her own), is concerned with the concept of consciousness. It begins, as in Alice’s Cyanometer, with the experience of colour—for,

The Gift of Seeing

The Gift of Seeing “A book should be like an axe for the frozen sea within us,” Franz Kafka memorably said.  One can argue with Kafka about the extremity of his imagery (he writes, in the same letter, of books wounding or stabbing us!), but he is right about the capacity of a creative work to make us open to understanding, to make us truly see. It is the gift of seeing that Alice Oswald has given us in the two poems she has written for Sophia’s Notebook—and what a gift it is! In both Cyanometer and Hymn for Winged

Lessons of History

Lessons of History An unlooked-for benefit of moving house was in being able to meet Sophia at all stages of her life: infant, toddler, child, adolescent, young woman, there she was in a host of small and memorable items. One of them is a poem, Cassandra, which was written when she was 12, and for which she won a national competition run by Amnesty International. It reflects her love of history and her growing knowledge of the ancient world (particularly her reading of Homer); but it also reflects an acute awareness of the brokenness--the ongoing human brokenness--of our times Cassandra puts

March 1st, 2023|Tags: , , , , , |


Always...                                               Sophia                                                            30.07.1991—17.01.2014 There is a song Which is not voice There is an absence Which is not empty When I cup my hands Only light is held there                                       

January 17th, 2023|Tags: , , , |

Bearing Witness to the Truth

Bearing Witness to the Truth Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.                                                                                     The

December 24th, 2022|Tags: , , |

July 30th 2022

July 30th 2022 It is Sophia’s birthday today. Her presence in this world was a gift. She is, and ever will be, a joy and a gift always. Swallows There were swallows at the cemetery today In winged canticle above me Each loop and circuit a shout of joy For the heaven that holds them So much blue, it enters the eyes and lives there afterwards With its song of sky and wings and light without and within That the swallows sing I wish I could give you the swallows Here, in this place, where the dead lie Single and

Everything a Symbol

Everything a Symbol It was the Feast of the Ascension recently in the calendars of both the Western and Eastern branches of the Christian Church. Always on a Thursday and celebrated 40 days after Easter, this is the day on which Christ is described in the New Testament as ascending into heaven before the eyes of his first century followers. How wonderfully, gloriously strange! But we live in an age in which the concept of quantum entanglement (in other words, that at the quantum level the behaviour of a particle can have an instantaneous and measurable impact on another at

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