In his poem [splat in the oatmeal: granddaddy facedown] D.A. Powell provides an inkling of ars poetica and/or growth and knowledge of his understanding of language. He writes:
…biblical words latched
onto the vernacular. challenges and curses
sometimes a prayer escapes:
These lines put together a personifying or thing-making of language. Words physically “latch” on to other types of words they are wholly unlike, but still up against nonetheless.
I like the list in these lines too: “challenges, curses and prayers.” Prayers and curses are often thought of as the antithesis of one another—a curse is pejorative, and a prayer all about goodness. But here, as the two types of language play into and off of one another, so too a prayer occasionally slips out of the challenge and curse.
Powell also calls out both meanings of the word “curse” as the spell cast upon someone for evil and the more vernacular meaning of swear words. Having attended an Episcopal church-camp for many summers as a kid, I fully recall the high-falluting language of the bible up against and around the crass words and swearing we practiced on one another there.
With language as a thing, and its possibilities circumscribed by its everyday uses, I love the idea of prayers slipping out despite peoples’ best efforts at issuing only challenges and curses.