Words piled up against walls, 
or words toppling under cubicle doors
flat-packed words in fax machines, 
sifted through telephones, 
lined up in emails or 
upright in train queues 
with rucksacks and smiles.
Open wounds - flesh and muscle words 
bubbling hearts and glowing cauldrons;
words undid them, words unhid them, 
spilling beauty and bandages, 
fragile as peach skin, 
showing their bruises
tender as thumb pads 
on each other's cheeks


Back catalogues scrolling, 
licked fingers, flicked pages 
forked tongues and paper cuts, 
the sting and the forgetting.  
Tiny scars in tipsy towers,  
shoved away to shadowed corners.   
In-the-stacks shelf words,
and words-on-ice,  
words in the mirror bouncing back.
Prim ladies at tea parties, 
bland cucumber sandwich words,
nodding words heavy headed, 
roses in vases, on fragile stems
careful, prudent, sage words,  
more polite than manners words,
stiff finishing school, starched napkin words.  

Goodbyes like damp kindling, 
brittle and bare, they leave unlit.  
Old words, like exhaust fumes,
an acrid trail inside them.

Submitted for Earthweal’s Open Link Weekend #77

29 thoughts on “WORDS

  1. I’ve read this a few times, Worms and I can’t pretend I understand it all; it is very clever and you obviously have worked assisduously on this[; I love the down-to-earth prim ladies at tea parties section — and where words inflict bruises

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John. I found some scribbles in a notebook from some time ago. I used them to build the poem. It was written in three separate sittings. I am still not sure of it. So I am very interested in and glad for your feedback.


      1. thanks Worms. I’m always hesitant to give advice because it is given from my limited perspective. Other writers may praise what i find deficient. We should always be alert for idiosyncratic writing

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, John. I did creative writing at Uni. Workshops involved getting everybody’s opinions and then deciding whose opinions you liked and whose you would choose to ignore. It’s hard to know how helpful it was on any individual piece but it sure taught me to accept people’s opinions without being defensive. Of course, in the end only the teacher’s opinion really mattered as far as my degree went. It’s a weird thing to study in that way – being so subjective. But I guess I am glad I did it. I enjoyed it at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is fantastic, love it. The way you weave a carpet of words. I imagine walking over a soft comfortable carpet but it can also be a dirty and muddy back door carpet. You captured the yin and yang of words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ulle! It suddenly occurred to me not long before you posted this lovely message, that you had written some thing similar recently and had i unwittingly stolen the idea from you? I can’t remember clearly. I will look back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Worms, correct me if I’m wrong please, but I read this poem several times, and I see it as a celebration of the power of words in their most destructive and constructive forms. As someone who enjoys the fun of playing with words, it really spoke to me. Excellent stuff. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hobbo, that is pretty much exactly right. Specifically, I was thinking about the context of friendships and how words behave in the best and worst of times in friendships. But yes, I am so glad it spoke to you. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG Worms, this is amazingly good! (And I’m too old to say OMG lightly.) I think this is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. I almost never read things more than once, but I’ve read this through three times and am not tired of it yet. It seems to flow so effortlessly, and yet be so full to the brim of images, which I guess is why it repays rereading.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just passed my laptop across to my husband and said “read this” – even though he doesn’t like poetry. It got an “it’s good, isn’t it” out of him, which is at least the equivalent of an OMG from me. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It is interesting that you crafted this poem from three segments, as it flows so wonderfully together. Some really fine imagery in this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Some poems are hi-wire acts of boldness, faith and surprise; we launch out into them as if riding a wave we neither really understand nor are sure where they end. At least, they sometimes feel that way as I compose ’em. The prompts of Warp and Weft instruct us to read in contrasting yet complementary ways, giving us a fabric or tapestry of words which clothe our intimacy with the world. Description is the yoga, the alchemy and wire-dance and here what is describe are ladders and wave-rides of a faith. All of that here in these airy precise intimate motions. The final 3d stanza I read as a summation of Warp and Weft but couldn’t quite arrive there. Thanks for sharing at earthweal – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed! Thank you. I appreciate Brendan’s comment about bthe last stanza. When I wrote it, I was thinking of friendships and their best and worst bits. So that’s why the last stanza is there … the flameless goodbye. But he’s right. With the warp and weft… the last stanza might be orphaned. It’s something to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

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