14 June 2013

listen (5 minute friday)

Joining with the writing flash mob that is Five Minute Friday at the home of the lovely Lisa Jo Baker. Writing not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.

Five minutes on listen


Chances are if you have listened to all the words in your lifetime you might not have come across this one - waulking. Since I am married to a Scotsman who has a percentage of Outer Hebridean ancestry it came onto our radar a few years back. 

Waulking is the process that beats cloth (mostly tweedy) to soften it and in the past was traditionally accompanied by song:

A waulking session often begins with slow-paced songs, with the tempo increasing as the cloth becomes softer. As the singers work the cloth, they gradually shift it to the left so as to work it thoroughly.

And waulking can be a little like arguing. Starting off with a few careless, barbed comments which accelerate gradually into a full flowing exchange of verbal hand grenades. 

Cloth beats hard on the table.

We retreat temporarily behind our walls of hurt and lob our jagged phrases without regard for collateral damage. Often (for me) reaching a peak with:


And in the full throes of heated exchange our words are like the meaningless vocables of the waulking song chorus sounding like 'tra la la' or 'hey hey hey' to the other person.

But do clashes soften the hard parts of our hearts when we have walked and worked through them? Enhancing the brilliance when reconciliation comes?

Perhaps just sometimes not being listened to is the means by which we are really truly heard.

    Kathleen McInnes - Gaol Ise gaol
(a Waulking Song)


(With thanks to the words in the Wikipedia article on WAULKING SONG)

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