The exile that I personally know about is an exile far less gruesome than the fate which befell Saturn's children; it is not at all dramatic like the epic of Oedipus, not a bit lyric, either, like a ballad bemoaning the old days from the lute of a Slavic poet. It does not even concern the exile of a person whose speech was found to be offensive, and who was sent away where his message could be heard no more. I am talking about the loss of a use of language, in my opinion its fundamental employment--the poetic in the broadest sense--and how that limb of our language has been cut off and callously discarded.~ William H. Gass, "Exile," Altogether Elsewhere: Writers on Exile
This has been, of course, my subject all along. And someone may ask, so complete has been its disappearance, what is this special use of language, and what makes it so special? Alas, to answer would require another essay and an honesty absent from most hearts. It is, first of all, a use of language which refuses to be a use. Use is abuse. That should be the motto of every decent life. So it treats every word as a wonder, and a world in itself. And it walks between them, even over dizzy heights, as confidently as a worker on beams of steel. And it does not care to get on, but it dwells; it makes itself, as Rilke wrote, into a thing, mute as the statue of an orator. It reaches back into the general darkness we--crying--came from, retouches the terrors and comforts of childhood, but returns with a magician's skills to make the walls of the world dance.