Tag Archives: words

If Words Alone Could Change the World

If words alone could change the world
the poets would still reign as kings,
and those who may rely on swords
would spend their time on lesser things.

The lure of verse, both blank and rhymed,
would tempt young minds to greater heights;
to cast aside appearances
and reclaim beauty as their right.

If words alone could change the world,
then love would be the ruling act;
for more has been said on this verb
than said on any other fact.

The search for meaning would consume
that span that runs from birth to death;
and those who would conceal great truths
would waste both time and precious breath.

If words alone could change the world,
each pulpit, podium and stage
would needs be guarded night and day
lest some loose phrase escape its cage

and in an instant, raze to ash
our vain illusions, leaving naught
except the aching poet’s mind
that dreams of texts no longer taught.

19 AUG 2007

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Conversation with a Mirror

I said, “Before I write another word
and send it, helpless, out into the void,
I’d like to find a topic less absurd
than how the world leaves me only annoyed

when I encounter it each passing day;
it does not woo me as in years now past,
but hawks its wares draped in pale shades of gray
that only serve to say they will not last.”

To which my mirror self made this reply:
“‘Tis not the world that has ceased to inspire,
and let its palette’s spectrum fade and dry.
Who would lay blame to life is a poor liar,

that with a wish to leave their guilt unsung
would find the taste of even sugar sour;
and name the fault not in their wretched tongue,
but cast aspersions on some unnamed power

that in a cruel and senseless show of strength
could hold one tiny soul in such regard
to bother with its quality or length
and make that path alone bitter or hard.”

“Alas,” I then replied, “perhaps you’re right:
that life has lost its savour is my shame;
what effort I could make to end this plight,
I’ve left undone. Excuses? Mine are lame,

and make me out a victim, weak and tired;
they reek of indolence and wasted years,
when I, who was so proud to be inspired,
succumbed instead to ordinary fears.”

‘Twas then that my reflection gave a laugh
and whispered, “To admit that, is a start.
Now, write yourself a different epitaph;
and this time, don’t pretend to be so smart.”

22 MAY 2007

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With one word aloud

With one word aloud,
the illusion is broken
as the echo fades.

So deep, this still well,
that a small sound is strengthened
and seems so much more.

But echoes will fade;
and in the gaping silence
words do not survive.

The illusion is
that there is one who listens.
Without sound, who knows?

What use is speaking
in such an empty cavern?
My ego needs this?

21 JUL 2006

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To Be Ambrose Bierce for a Day

chaste, n.

The state of being pursued, but not yet within the grasp of the pursuer. For example, it could be said that one is chaste, or in fact chased, until they are caught or captured. Quite often the value placed upon chastity, which is of course the affliction associated with the quarry’s unnaturally extended ability to outrun its would-be captors, is determined by the perceived value of the quarry as a showpiece once it is mounted, or otherwise preserved as a trophy of some kind. Unfortunately, this measure of quality is too often determined only by the pursuer (i.e., beauty in the eye of the beholder) relative to the more or less flimsy, variable and/or whimsical tastes of its own society. As a result, being a worthy adversary with respect to said capture is prized when the object being hunted is pursued by someone else, and decried as unfair when pertaining to the object of one’s own inclinations. But then again, such are the characteristics of double standards, after all.

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Your Own Words

What do I care? They’re only words,
flung out in speech like careless pearls;
it’s not as if they can raise boils
or lay an endless, babbling curse.

Oh, wait; that’s not entirely true.
For in the Celtic lands, the bard
could with their words alone transform
a thing in such a way.

What do I care? Those bards are dead;
were their pale spirits gathered here,
each duly armed with sticks and stones,
I doubt they’d raise a bruise.

Well, wait; I’d like to take that back,
and years of useless, pointless talk
avoiding one small, simple truth;
that your own words can hurt you.

07 APR 2006

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The words that rend my soul’s speech are my own;
they are not borrowed from another’s lines.
From someone else’s field, of their seeds sown,
come not the fruits due me at harvest time.

To posit otherwise is to admit
my life only an actor’s walk-on role,
with no responsibility or wit
of my own — no true joy, love or control.

So, each new moment becomes mine to make,
immersed in self-wrought ecstacy or hell.
How then, to keep from making more mistakes,
or at least, to recover from them well?

The secret: admit what you do not know.
From that small bit of knowledge, all things flow.

21 MAR 2006

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Don’t Say a Word

Don’t say a word; let the silence between us
deepen and swallow us whole;
forget who was in control,
who had the more meaningful role.

Don’t say a word; let not speaking remind us
of what can be better unsaid;
better to not be misled,
or say something ill of the dead.

Besides, talking never was easy to do;
our love was a sentence cut off half way through,
each word like a weapon used only to prove
that I believed me, and that you believed you.

Nothing but silence is left to us now;
no need for explaining or wondering how
the things left unspoken worth talking about
weren’t worth the time figuring out.

Don’t make a sound; let the calm quiet take you
out beyond the reach of my voice;
you and I both made that choice,
opted for different noise.

Don’t make a sound; even the slightest whisper
might shatter our reason tonight;
and keep us together in spite
of what we both know to be right.

Besides, all our talking has come to no good:
our love never grew up the way that it should,
but used words like weapons to tear us apart,
each comment a dagger in each other’s heart.

Nothing but silence is left us to share;
no need for pretending to bother to care.
The things left unspoken we both didn’t say
won’t matter much after today.

09 FEB 2006

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