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Talk to me!


Your remark
Is the spark
That sets my world alight!

Your whisper
Is the flicker
That my fading hopes ignite!

Your voice
Is the music of choice
I wanna hear each lonely night

Your utterance
Move my feet to dance
With utter delight!

Your expressions
Cure my depressions
Chucking my worries out of sight!

Your word
Strikes a happy chord
Makes me feel so right

Your assurance
Is my insurance
That everything is alright

Your encouragement
During my dull moments
Allay my fears till I'm not as uptight!

Your sayings make me happy
With you I am less cranky
You make my day bright

Talk to me my love
Let’s soar to heights above
Just you, me and our laughter in merry flight

Port Moresby, June 2013


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Steve W Labuan

Haha don't worry about 'talking elephants', just a left-over figurative title.

Frank S. Kolma, one of our news anchors in PNG once wrote in the papers of the phenomenon of 'silence' on the passing of somebody greatly loved, that:

".. in times like this, we can never really find the right words to express our feelings - we can only feel."

That's a positive illustration of silence being so loud, as I thought was meant by Michael at the time of his commenting.

Steven Ilave (Snr)

Thanks Steve L. I do not know about “talking elephant” though, hehe. But I get your point.

And hey Michael, thank you for introducing me to Gerald Durrel and the lines:

“I have known silence: the cold, earthy silence at the bottom of a newly dug well; the implacable stony silence of a deep cave; the hot, drugged midday silence when everything is hypnotized and stilled into silence by the eye of the sun; the silence when great music ends.”

I have just read the rest of the amazing letter from the naturalist. It is so beautiful and worth the read for keeps.

He ends the letter in this way: All this I did without you. This was my loss. All this I want to do with you. This will be my gain. All this I would gladly have forgone for the sake of one minute of your company, for your laugh, your voice, your eyes, hair, lips, body, and above all for your sweet, ever surprising mind which is an enchanting quarry in which it is my privilege to delve.

I obviously did not say it as well as the great author has done after penning those awesome lines, but it in a way captures the spirit of ‘talk to me”. Thanks again Michael.

Steve W Labuan

Well Steven, you do have the final say now to what's left uncovered of your elephant - if that's what the poem is.

Much of it has been exposed, its symbolism for perfect love relationship by Deb, its loudness for silence in love we can only feel by Michael, and its reasoning of death for a loved one by myself. Between the four of us we painted bits of the "Talking-to-Me" elephant. (The Talking Elephant - another title :-D)

Well done fellas. Not bad.

Michael Dom

Steven - I owe that line from the original poem by Gerald Durrell (naturalist and author).

Steven Ilave (Snr)

Dear Steven L, Deb and Michael - Thank you all for the compliments and (Steven L) the interesting discussion. I appreciate the comments from you all.

I feel honoured to have accomplished poets like yourselves comment on “Talk to Me”. I am a little overwhelmed actually by the interest that the simple ‘love poem’ has generated.

I smiled at the commentary around perfect love, Perfection; Truth, on beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and Michael at the picture of ‘silence and great music’; etc.

I indicated at the start what the context and the motivation was when I wrote the poem. For me what was important was/is not only love but communicating that love.

I learnt a new thing about poems in the exchange. The expectation out there amongst readers to ensure that the message is “complete”. I think there in lies the issue for me. I am wondering whether the message is ever complete in a poem? Where is the room for interpretation?

I think the last stanza does it for me. It would have been enough for the “Lover” to break the silence and make the poet laugh again.

Steven L, I like your parody and the interesting suggesting about retitling the poem with the justification you provide that for you it becomes more reflective or leads towards a better solution, like peace after reading the poem. I take that on board.

Thanks again for the comments guys!

Steve W Labuan

Please just let me add another comment for happy reading. It is about understanding the unlimitedness of human creativity and our hypocrisy in boxing in such freedoms in conservative ways.

We must not be seen as "minimising the power of the author's words" as argued in comments here and elsewhere about differences of interpretations? Let's take this poem as an example to illustrate how there can be abuse.

If we claim "Talk to me" "..is perfect" then we are already "minimising the power of the author's words".

Simply because, 'perfection' as we may correctly imply, means there is nothing more for recreation. So if we consider our many differences in the interpretation of the poem, 'perfection' is automatically ruled out as a group or shared thing.

If there is perfection, then each reader should have exactly the same interpretation to one another. This leads us to think that 'perfection therefore,is an individualised experience.

Even for the individual, perfection can also be ruled out. This is because even though 'beauty in the eyes of the beholder' is perfection, it can only apply for a given time period and for a given situation. If time and situations change, there is no longer perfection.

As a group or shared thing Perfection only exists as an abstract state or goal like heaven, or nirvana that human's must strive to reach. As a group thing therefore,there is no perfection yet in this life, except that it is a describing word for such a state.

As an individual thing, perfection is dependent on the ability to create and recreate in both the mind and in the physical. If something is perfect already, then it would be an insult to the creative potential of the human brain as a dynamic mechanism to create and recreate, and for expressing the unlimitedness of human freedom.

Freedom of creativity can not be boxed into a particular shape and labelled 'static' (perfect). Until perfection comes, and the human brain and experience stop to be active, that would be hard to control.

Steve W Labuan

That's better. At least we take glimpses into the heads of commentators so far on this poem through the windows of either parody (addition) or critic (descriptions of feelings).

For the soul: happy seeing, happy hearing.

Deb Dewberry

As Michael says nothing needs to be added to this wonderful poem, it is perfect, and I agree the reader reads it through their own window of life and experience, 'weltanschuung', insight, philosophy and even spirituality.

For me I see it as a description of what has the possibility (with a lot of perseverance) of being the perfect relationship, bringing to mind the excitement of first love.

PS. I was not referring to love-making; that is just one part of what love is.

Michael Dom

Your comments are noted Steve.

I hope that you learn what it is like to stand in the silence that follows when great music ends.

Steve W Labuan

Michael Dom, it's the 'what you know and happy about bit' inside your head that I was asking after.

The interpretation in your head doesn't mean it's the same in other people's heads, not even the writers.

It is by sharing these that they become valuable. But of course, you have the right to remain silent.

Michael Dom

Hello Steve W Labuan, actually I was addressing Steven Ilave (Snr).

I don't feel it necessary to 'add anything valuable' to Steven's poem because, for me, he's said it all.

My appreciation is of his skill in delivering a message to me which is entertaining and enriching.

Steve W Labuan

Obviously love is the big thing,and every body knows or feels 'love is everything' already from the start of the poem.

But surely one cant just view love on the general surface by saying things like "this poem is indeed about love" and go away.

What is the new view here about love that is worth the reader's attention? In other words, what is valuable is how specifically do different individuals see love - what about it, what kind of love is it etc.

Deb says it is the perfect love - whatever is meant by that - probably a description of a love-making scene.I say it is family love about missing each other.

We are contributing a kind of love, each a new contribution specific of the big thing.

Don't readers have anything valuable to contribute on Steven's poem about love - eh Michael?

Michael Dom

Hey Steven, I like this poem because it has a simplicity that is deceptive.

Your diction in this piece is superb and I'm jealous - so there!

Whatever different opinion people have about the poem the truth remains - it's all about love.

Wawaf Labuan

Deb, first of all we can agree that Steven has written an excellent piece of poetry.

We can also agree that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and limitation is relative to individuality regarding perceptions in reading poetry for instance. Let me show a familiar example on 'tokples'.

In our village, how easily it is for us to say for instance, that our tokples is better than those of the neighboring villages because ours is straight-forward, better or perfect etc, and theirs is crooked, dragged or funny etc. Ever heard of of this?

In the neighbouring village, the "straightness and correctness" of language is exactly what they are also saying about theirs compared to ours which is "all the negatives" we had said of theirs.

So what is the truth? Obviously, there are many truths depending on who is seeing it, and on where one is looking from - you know, what the assessment is based on etc. From a linguistics point of view all languages, nevertheless, are naturally equal.

Firstly, no matter what angle one takes to perceive something, there will always be a limitation. I am sure you will agree that this is true for every work of art be it language, poetry, painting, novel, dancing, story-telling, music or talking, playing, cooking and eating, in fact anything one is good at. This is because of our differences in cultural ways of doing and looking at life, our beliefs, our education, our environment, knowledge of the world and so on. There are so many truths if you like, as there are individual beings, ranging from the generalities which are shared across society to the likes and dislikes which are specific and unique to the individual.

For instance, what I had demonstrated is a sharing of my own view based on my experiences that the poem evokes in the domain of my individuality - its beliefs, background, knowledge of the society i know, of life etc. What comes out, is the way I would like to see it, and even adjust to my liking where appropriate because it has got to reflect what I believe in, my reality, my truths etc. If I differ, then proper acknowledgement to the source of this inspiration - the poet in this case, must be due. It is called a parody. So if you like,the final stanza I had written is my parody of Steven's "Talk to me". A parody is not a watering down of the poet's original work - rather an enrichment of it.

As another example, you had also demonstrated your perception on the poem in your last comments. Even that has limitations also which others will point out due to the differences in the shared and individual experiences; maybe in the different ways God's unlimitedness is viewed or experienced for instance.

Secondly, nevertheless what is important is this, a good poem accommodates for all these differences. A good poem can stand the pressures of such differences in that, every one of these differences can identify with it; one poem can apply to different people's situations in different ways.All of these views reflect realities - they are correct.

Finally, credit must be given to Steven for writing a great poem that has the potential to attract discussions due to its transcendence across differences.Differences are part and partial of the same thing. That's one beauty of poetry.

Deb Dewberry

I don't see this as lamenting or even a prayer (as the author himself calls it) at all! To me this is a love poem! This sounds like the perfect relationship!

I am sorry, but bringing God into it limits it. If you believe in God how can you dare to think you can know his/her thoughts?

We are minimising the power of God by our own limitations. And you are minimising the power of the author's words.

Steve W Labuan

To me an avid reader of poetry, I find "Talk to Me" by Steven Ilave Snr a better poem I had read so far on this blog.

Any poem that is well written; - care in its choices of words used (rhyming, figures of speech) and in the structure of its form (melody patterns, consistent stanza patterns, right no. of stanzas) as well as having an interesting story line (general parables), all naturally make the reader feels good at wanting to read on, and sometimes in wanting to keep it afterwards.

I would re-title this poem "The Greatest Words"; "Always where we always Are" or something more specially reflective of a better solution, like peace after reading.

I always believe there is a way for every tragedy. Any literary genre that does not leave this with me, leaves the message incomplete. That's why I do not consider this poem 'best' but better.

In its 10 stanzas - 9 reflect memories of words recited in lamentations for a beloved one missed, and 1, the 10th stanza, invites the one missed to do a repetition of the actions described in the preceding stanzas - "talk to me".

Obviously the voice in the poem, that is the one doing the lamenting is missing a beloved one, and is reminiscing on words recalled from the one missed and of their suiting effects on the voice. This creates a longing-ness which prompts the voice to make a call to the one missed for a re-do of the same words; (again -"talk to me").

As readers, this is something which can be done either only as a wish, or by taking the road the beloved has taken if the one is far away from the voice.

If I were the one lamenting, if I was the voice, I wouldn't consider death as the road to take literally. So I would conclude with a peaceful stanza such as;

Though worlds apart we may be
We're always here just you and me
In the loving love of our maker's light.

Thanks Steven for the prayer. Ask God for greater strength for you both,if you believe in God. In any case, it's almost dawn, there's the morning star.

Steven Ilave (Snr)

It is not a happy place to be at where God the Lover of one’s soul goes ‘mum’. That’s the context of the poem. It’s a prayer.

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