Emmanuel Godo: The evenings of great silence

The village is called Biassa. It is nestled in the forest on the heights of La Spezia. We could describe the alleys, the stairs with irregular steps, the paths leading to the Cinque Terre (Italy). In the postcards, we evoke the hikes, the idleness, the freshness that we manage to maintain in the house. But what we will win in the heart is something else.

Concord-shaped talkativeness

These are the conversations that continue all around us, in the evening, between the inhabitants. The voices that call out to each other, the laughter, the stories, the anecdotes of the day, the projects for tomorrow. The trifles of life that transform twilight into a kind of joyful aviary. Our Italian is not fluid enough for us to go directly to the meanings: it comes to us like a set of songs, of intonations which come to take their place at the necessary moment, a concert which is improvised from course to window, garden terraces. Even the higher-pitched chirping of the neighbor from Montecatini introduces a happy discordance into the whole.

It is this loquacity in the form of concord that we will keep in memory, this ineradicable civility, as old as the desire of men to live in peace with each other. This urbanity came from Roman Antiquity through the Renaissance as the secret of happy societies. Later, we will return to the places where the word is broken. We will reintegrate the world where we no longer know how to listen to or look at each other. We will once again inhabit our great impracticable chaos. The cities where there is nothing to say to each other.

In the meantime, we stock up on hope, beauty, silence. Yes, silent. The concert of words would not be possible without this great silence, like a blank page, which underlies it. Without this imperceptible setting which is like an evening within an evening. Like a hand of infinite gentleness that would carry beings and things. Seen or heard through this silence, human life immediately resumes its holy or sacred dimension: trials of the path in the night, a confidence tempted against all the reasons for no longer believing in it.

The sting of our quest

Around the table, last week, a silence has come. The decor was that of Tuscany, in one of those great patrician houses whose splendor Cristina Campo said as a reflection of the grandeur that is within us. A greatness that compels us. Which is like the spur of our quest for a life commensurate with the divine within us.

We are constantly torn from this truth, belittled, forced to live in the fake, the burlesque, the skimpy, the derisory and its reverse: the unlivable, the sinister seriousness. But it only takes a trifle, a deviation, a sudden stoppage of the machinery for us to rediscover the moral and spiritual climate that is necessary for us to live up to what we are called to be. An unexpected word, the flash of a book page, the thought that finds its free gravity at the bend of a landscape, the peace of this church where we had not planned to enter. A silence awaits us, which carries the words of life.

The mystery of the glorious bodies

Around the table, therefore, last week, a silence has come. We were coming back from a walk. Looking at a lizard on a stone, near a cypress, I spoke of Victor Hugo’s theory that animals are human souls in purgation.

The young girl, perhaps because she has a bird’s first name, came back to this idea in the evening: “Do you believe in the transmigration of souls? » I said no, that I was a Christian, that I believed in the resurrection, in the mystery of the glorious bodies, but that it was a difficult subject for human understanding. She reassured me: “I am sure of it. » And in her eyes passed the face of the wonderful grandmother who left 10 years ago. The one with whom he sometimes talks, on evenings of great, very great silence.

Emmanuel Godo is a poet, essayist. Latest books published: the Passors of the Absolute (Artege) and My Mother’s Bible (Corlevour).

Emmanuel Godo: The evenings of great silence