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Just one more part of a noisy, dusty day: the snake-charmer near the bazaar, piping his time-worn ploy for Western fascination - a wedge-shaped, narrow head like a blunt needle threaded with ancient dread, a scaly skein unwinding. You said: Language is like that: a serpent we charm into meaning, a blend of hissing syllables and airy modulations, swaying thoughts and emotions, uncoiling propaganda or poems. The difficult part, the art, is knowing how to control what comes out of the basket.

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