A Lacan villanelle

There Is No Speech Without a Reply

Language functions not to inform but evoke
Like it or not, the symptom is a metaphor
There is no speech without a reply

Full speech is not a question of reality, but of truth
Truth unsettles us; we are used to the real
Language functions not to inform but evoke

From the knife-edge of chronological certainties
To the classic music hall turn of collapsing plates
The world of speech demands a reply

Am I that of which I speak, or the shadow
Of the great winged hornet of narcissistic tyranny?
Language functions not to inform but evoke

The child who strikes another, cries
Reading Freud cannot be considered superfluous
There is no speech without a reply

Souls heavy from hardy shoots of wounded drives
Perfect love is a fruit not of nature but of grace
Language functions not to inform but evoke
There is no speech without a reply

 

This villanelle is based on phrases taken from Écrits by Jacques Lacan, translated by Alan Sheridan, W.W. Norton & Co, New York, 1977

If you enjoyed this, you may want to read my Wittgenstein villanelle.

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