‘Word Song’ (1958)




‘Words are the most delicate thing.
[…]
Words passing through the air.
I catch them in handfuls.
One buzzed by my ear then.
[…]
And you have to be careful which voice you catch them
In and put them down in.
Only by careful earth of other words beside it, arranged
And watered.
Do you get it to root.
And of course, shoot.
[…]
And at last I really seize and hold it there and stare at it
And hold it to my ear,
Listen,
Rattle it,
Pull it apart letter by letter
And finally set it down.
Use it perhaps.’


Margaret Tait (1958) ‘Word Song’ in Neely, S and Smith, A (eds.) (2012) Margaret Tait: Poems, Stories and Writings Manchester: Carcanet