“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.”
Welcome to Lexicon
Wittgenstein 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.
Sophia’s Poem: Self-Portrait as a Reflection
Sophia’s Poem: Self-Portrait as a Reflection In lips over a waterfall, Nathan observes that: “only the photographs were left to take the difficult questions”. Since Sophia’s death, I have asked quite a few of those difficult questions. In some strange but powerful way, however, it is Sophia herself who always answers them. A few months before she died, Sophia wrote the following poem. In it, she is confronting the thought of her own death (so small a poem for so fearfully large a theme). It is, as she says, a self-portrait. One can see Sophie in it. It draws on
Nathan Shepherdson: The Artist’s Order
Nathan Shepherdson: lips over a waterfall Nathan’s poem for Sophia’s Notebook, lips over a waterfall, has now been printed, packed and sent off in precious postal packs worldwide. What a labour of love this has been! It has involved quite a journey across these Covid-haunted years to bring this beautiful thing into the world. Nathan has written a delicate, intricate and subtle series of 22 poems (one for each year of Sophia’s life)—22 densely packed, visually rich 3-line poems set together in meaningfully ordered disorder. The 22 poems have been printed in 22 signed and numbered boxed sets (some of
July 30th, 2021
July 30th, 2021 It is July 30th once again, Sophia’s birthday. Sophia would be 30 this year. Thirty. It is an inconceivable number, inconceivable that it must come and go without her, inconceivable that so many birthdays have come and gone likewise. Thirty. Yet it is the sweet-faced girl who looks out at us from images of her that Sophia will now forever be. Perhaps there is an unlikely fittingness to this—for though Sophia (like the owls in the poem she dedicated to Gershon) seemed to intuitively understand “time’s/ Discordant music,” she also somehow lived outside it. Sophia used to
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.”
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