Old words, new eyes

Picasso's "Etriente" (Embrace)
Picasso’s “Etriente” (Embrace)

Found in a lost notebook:

“Zayre is a hushed place.  The inhabitants have no language of sounds and syllables, and yet they speak to each other with ease, grace, beauty.  It was one thousand years ago exactly that words began to disappear.  It occured slowly at first but, after a certain point, when it seemed futile to try to express all the complexity of life in the few words that remained, they left off speaking altogether.  The few signposts and books that are left are viewed as curiosities.  Through gestures, movements and facial expressions, the citizens of Zayre have found a way to live lives full of satisfaction.

“Five hundred years ago, the skies above Zayre began to dim.  For awhile, everybody carried a small flame, but now no one bothers.  The city is silent and dark.

“Visitors have often wondered how Zayreans coul be such a happy lot when they are a culture without language and  light.  What these visitors fail to notice is that the Zayreans speak all day with the touch of exploring hands, expressive caresses, the lenghts of limb against limb, torso against torso, with kisses that last hours, full of deep affection, wisdom, delight, and — did I mention? — the philosophies of at least six galaxies.”

from Italo Calvino

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