Sophia Argyris

Sophia Argyris

Limits of Language

The coca-cola water of this river 

pours and pools in sudden calm 

between the rocky arms of land, 

and here an otter coils,


coils, and turns over himself 

like a sleek eel in the singing water.

The river’s voice is spilling over. 

The call of a loch is deeper.


My known words are so much smaller,

they can’t hold everything 

the way that water can hold 

the slick mud of its bed, 


every sunken stone, unblinking fish, 

a floating branch or leaf on its surface,

even the abandoned plastic bag 

with all its weight of meaning.


The whole vast, shifting sky

is held. A high bird 

passing far above 

becomes, in the loch’s eye,


                                a deep bird 

moving fathoms underneath.

The world seen and understood,

beyond the reach of language.






Image Credit: Elaine Morrison

Sophia Argyris
Sophia Argyris

Sophia Argyris was born in Belgium to an English and Greek family, and grew up in the North of Scotland. Her work has been published widely, including in Magma, Spelt, The Seventh Quarry and Under the Radar. She was a winner of the Candlestick Press Wonky Animals Competition in 2023.