The Nature of the Linguistic Sign | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 16, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:12 AM, September 16, 2017

Poetry

The Nature of the Linguistic Sign

"In language there are only differences without positive terms."

—Saussure
 
Signifier: Alas, that I am only what I am not.
There is no me, but many nots of you.
And is it not the same that holds for you?
Is that our lot? To be not and not and not?
If only I knew what I was before I became
what I am not. Am I the figure or the ground?
In what well of being is my truth to be found?
How should I presume to know or name?
 
Signified: What good is being in the nameless prison
in which I find myself, not knowing why?
How to speak of that infantile despair?
How to say one's truth? How to cry
one's quivering being to the abstracted air,
to the indifferent, uncomprehending sun?
 
 
Nausheen Eusuf is a PhD candidate in English at Boston University. Her first collection of poems will be published by NYQ Books (US) and Bengal Lights Books, Bangladesh.

 

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