from The World Encyclopedia of Ideophones

ch’izh — (Navajo) the rustling of dry leaves

A thicket of birds frightened in the night, but then what of the wings? Tongues by day wrestle with the dry leaves each are left with to digress into verse; bustling, fussing, prattling; the skin moves about in fine linens, there is the skin beneath, much less calm than what appears; a softer crashing; a gathering of fragments of last season’s writhings the wind will carry off and make disappear; the clattering of armor shed at last.

doki doki — (Japanese) the heartbeat

An extremely small space in time; a lone bird trapped in an airport does not know how to read its way out so it waits; the sound of feet going; as one; a pendulum swings, then slows; the whole valley afloat.

loang xoang — (Vietnamese) the sound of glass breaking to pieces, falling to the ground

Ordinariness of transparency is no longer; laborious clanging in the cupboard for a pan to make eggs, the same clamoring when trying to form sentences after sex; meteor showers; a swimmer’s pointed body diving into a pool; loose change transferred from hand to wooden bowl; holds well but held poorly; Smithson’s Island; vessels, eventually.

kpálakpàla — (Yoruba) nonsense

A grosbeak’s warbling; driving on gravel; a piece, a muddle of pieces quilted, its seams too soon coming loose; the shrill noon dismantles from its post, its retreat a slow shivering into a bucket of black water.

humdrum — (English) dull, monotonous

A top spinning on the edge of a table; sibilant; a waterwheel; when the mill burned down the silence outside became colder, the field surrounding it darker, the stillness groping to receive again the heart’s murmur; beginning with lovesickness, the kind leading to restlessness, resulting in ennui; the fig and peach pickers in summer no longer hum under their breath as they work, but lightly beat the chest as a reminder.

mukumuku  — (Siwu) mumbling mouth movements

A woman at the grocery store choosing an orange, one after the other tumbling onto the ground in front of her, for all that is known they might have been the ones she would have wanted to bring home to her daughter, her back rounds as she picks each one up off the confetti linoleum.

šókí šókí šókí — (Yoruba) in little drops

 Wringing dry the cotton sheets; gradually, the meadow, wet; clockwork; Time exists in order that everything doesn’t happen all at once; a mere scrap of cut root will grow a new plant; delphiniums shedding on a tablecloth; instructions on how to return the spine to mat, one vertebrae by slow vertebrae.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *