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 …

Poem by Sophia for Gershon

Poem by Sophia for Gershon... I have been visited by owls lately (sometimes beside the road, sometimes flying overhead or in front of me, once sitting quietly on the roof spine, head cocked to one side, watching me). People in the ancient world would have seen these as visitations (and perhaps they are!), so it seems only fitting to accompany Gershon's poem for Sophia with the poem she dedicated to him when she was 14, Apotheosis as an Owl. Apotheosis as an Owl (for Gershon) Birds are always flying, Even on their backs As they search for the moon in

Gershon’s Poem for Sophia

  Poem by Gershon Maller for Sophia... Gershon Maller, dear friend and mentor of Sophia, has had a poem dedicated to her published in Text: https://textjournal.scholasticahq.com/article/23503-text-poetry-april-2021 Sophia, who shared many long conversations over good coffeee with Gershon about Plato and poetics, Wittgensgtein and Wallace Stevens, language and meaning, events from history or all things otherworldly, would be delighted! To be a poet, Sophia said in a poem she wrote as a 13-year-old, is to be "a verb in a world/ Of nouns." This was the grammar of being she lived vividly in every perception, in every thought, in every moment of her

All the world’s true things…

                                                                                                                                              Sophia                                  30.07.1991--17.01.2014 Grave Goods Cemeteries are places we turn our backs on, Quarantine islands

Don’t Be Afraid

Don't Be Afraid “Don’t be afraid,” the angel says to the shepherds in the Nativity story. Perhaps in today’s fearful times, the angel would also say: “Be steadfast.” It is a good word: steadfast. An old word for a very necessary virtue. It means to stand firm, to be resolute, to be faithful. Sophia lived out the true meaning of it in her illness. I watched her do it. She was a wise old soul, our Soph. In the age of Covid, this is particularly resonant: “Be steadfast.”      

December 25th, 2020|Tags: , , , |

In Passing

In Passing Quadrant has published another of Sophia’s early poems, In Passing. It includes the footnote Sophie wrote to accompany the text. When Sophie collated and organised the collection, Antiquity, In Passing was the poem she chose to conclude it. As Sophie conceived of the poems as being the product of a middle-aged, melancholic scholar, a professor in the field of religion and mythology called (rather wonderfully) A.B. Miriam Thyme, it is altogether fitting that the last words in Antiquity are in a footnote. There is a classic Sophia edge to that thought, both witty and wise in its acuteness.

July 30th, 2020

July 30th, 2020 Another year, another birthday, unmade from life that should have been. Yet how grateful I am that you lived, my darling—that you lived in the world, and lived in it in such richness of inner being. You were so light in your step in life, graceful in every gesture, but deep is the impression left on those who see. The Snowflake and the Star Sometimes I feel I am akin only to the dead That all my consubstantiality is with bones Can it be that I have no remnant amongst the living? Subtle as fire I have seen

The Shimmering Otherness of RAIJ

The Shimmering Otherness of RAIJ RAIJ (Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus), the eclectic and multitalented group of musicians based in the UK, recently released their latest album Songs of Yearning (plus a limited edition accompanying album, Nocturnes). Prayer, the last track on Songs of Yearning, has a particular significance for me. It is RAIJ’s lovely arrangement of the simple prayer which I sang driving home from the cemetery one day after visiting Sophia’s tomb.  It is—for me and for those who love Sophia—one of the ripples in time of her beautiful young life. But it is also a song

Blogpost in a Plague Year

Blogpost in a Plague Year             There is a very real sense in which the coronavirus epidemic is an overturning of the world.  Most people are aware—even if only subliminally—that our world has changed forever. Nothing, I suspect, will ever be quite the same again. The death of one’s child gives a profound perspective on the fragility of human existence—a fragility now being borne out to us (as it has throughout history) in a time of plague—so I understand how disorienting the unfolding catastrophe of the pandemic is for so many people. However, the terrible

Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher This past week I have on four occasions seen glorious azure kingfishers, singly or in a pair, in heart-leaping flight over the now-flowing waters of our local creek. No photograph can do justice to these resplendent little creatures. They truly must be experienced “momently”. It made me think of a poem I wrote a long time ago—long before Sophie died, long before she became seriously ill, when she was still a teenager. It was written following one of our many walks together. I had dedicated it to Sophie, because it reflected her developing worldview, in which she saw

Love is eternal. . .

Sophia 30.07.1991---17.01.2014 Loving you always. . .   And if this was the world’s last night I should not fear to be undone. Love is the songline of the soul, A cascading radiance, linked like synapses in the brain, Rippling in one scintillant universal thought. For this is grief’s impossible truth, the paradox Lived in deepest loss. Love is eternal. Leaf XLVII by R. Nugent (from Leaves: Poems for my Daughter)    

January 17th, 2020|Tags: , , , |
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