Monday, June 28, 2010

Reaching for words: the Lord's Prayer

The New York Times has a piece about the recovery of speech by poet Marie Ponsot after a stroke.  At first, she cannot recall what she does not know. But she starts with the English version. When she can't recall that she moves to the familiar French one but can only remember the first three words. Suddenly  the Latin version of the entire prayer pops into her head. She tries to translate it back into English without success. Suddenly it arrives.

Was remembering the Pater Noster that night in the hospital a moment of awakening? Ms. Ponsot grinned, perhaps at another unduly fancy thought.
“It allowed me,” she said, “to go to sleep.” 

Stave off mental decrepitude and memorize another version of the Lord's Prayer!

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