Two Short Poems From Poet Laura Lynn Brown
The baby doesn’t want strained peas
or cottage cheese.
His lips won’t part
for apple tart.
He can’t be coaxed to eat his fish.
He hurls the dish
against the wall
and starts to squall.
But when the piece of buttered bread
he spurned as dead
has hit the floor--
he points, asks “More?”
[Note: the form of this poem is a “minute,” a 60-syllable poem with a specific syllable-per-line count and rhyme scheme. It was invented by Verna Lee Hinegardner, former Arkansas poet laureate.]
Ship of Tools
Train of spoons,
speedboat of forks,
forklift of knives,
kayak of whisks,
wheelchair of tongs,
toboggan of ladles,
lifeboat of graters,
golf cart of corkscrews,
Conestoga of peelers,
paddlewheeler of mashers,
magic carpet of mortars,
motor home of pestles,
pedal boat of scoops,
school bus of spatulas,
spaceship of basters,
bathysphere of cleavers,
convertible of zesters,
Zamboni of timers.
[First line borrowed from Dana Levin’s poem “My Sentence."]
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Two Short Poems From Poet Ali Znaidi
a drift into the unknown
scathing my skin
those stings really
similar to touching thistle
a drift into
the pleasures of forgetfulness
Synopsis of a Ghost Story
In the surging waves
of the howling wind that bites the flesh
of the sand
your music will dispel the thick mist.
Did you see how the sunset amazed the ghosts?
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Leslie Philibert And Two Poems Of Absence
Knowing there are
many words for night;
night watch, nightshade, nightfall
but none for the space of
a halved bed, an envelope stretched,
flat with white; unslept in,
and hands devoid of
a trace of perfune or rest warmth,
a slight breath, a gentle curve.
Let him cherish the lost presence
of a drowned moon
of darkness long
of standing time.
After You Left
After you left, I fell asleep
Lost in a web on warm cotton and
Sudden space, stretching in your bed.
Your dream catcher turns in the light,
A trace of Eau-de-Cologne hangs in the air.
I find a poem by Rilke on your pillow,
An open book, almost lost by reading;
Ich finde Dich in allen diesen Dingen.
But then I lose myself again, outside
The traffic has stolen you like a thief.
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Amy Billone's Haunting "Paris to London"
Paris to London
Before the train
plunges into the sea,
I watch grazing deer
and horses sprinting,
green grape vines
and high corn leaves,
skinny full grown
leaning trees beside
baby saplings cradled
in nets, fields of
wheat, scattered rolls
of hay, an ancient
They must have lived
for thirteen years--
In their voices,
such wild joy.
I am sad to hear it.
They laugh together,
(We pass another
The children practice
English: I love you, but...
one day...a boy says
and a girl mimics him,
repeat: I love you, but...
one day...They laugh
until their bodies shake.
I see no people outside
for hours. Only a solitary
like my father, leans
shirtless over blades
of grass. He must be
far away from home.
Then dancing sheep
and goats and purple
flowers. More youthful
laughter: I love you, but...
one day...My strange
and still another old
We Extend A Warm Welcome to Poet Jocelyn Mosman
Our slit wrists are
severe weather alerts,
and we are sounding out
We bleed until our palms
are clasped together
dripping our prayers
onto cracked canvases.
our hearts like angel wings,
growing a feather with every
and I know women
who are flying right now.
They bleed out too many
days without sunrises
keep tally marks
on their flesh,
wait for their chance
to breathe again
without having to bite their tongues,
that tastes like their unspoken self-defenses.
I know women whose DNA
turned against them,
created a pallet of brown
and grey and emptiness,
never satisfied with their
shade of pretty.
I know women whose
hearts are breaking
without the metaphor.
They are pleading
without any god
for a new one before
theirs erupted in the ER…
2015 has a way of breaking
and teenage girls are bleeding out
I know women who are performing
exorcisms on their spirits,
hoping that their unholy ghost
paints their wings white
with every slice of the knife.
bodies made beautiful,
We aren’t meant to bleed
Don't cast down your faces,
look into the places
of your body
you've never seen.
Every hair is a part of your halo,
every scar is a rose petal
for you to garden
we are born to be strong,
ashes being relit
into the fire
we started from.
Let our bruises become candles
guiding our angels with broken wings
and misplaced spirits
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Dana Rushin: Death And The Dark
Tornado Watch, 1963
This, is where Grandma pointed:
A spot on the orange butterfly wallpaper
where Papa splattered; his Tip Top
cigarette papers and the tin
of his half full Prince Albert
crimp cut, the last thing he held.
"Their Gods ridiculous and themselves
past shame" Milton wrote. Because
as you grow older
spots on walls can transform themselves
like little children getting over the
measles. Is there any greater
scatter of chickens into their
wire house than wind? Longer this
time than normal but their little
thin asses taking position.
I've grown now to compare the
diaphysis and epiphysis of all things:
The Blackened spirit that brings forth life.
The end of sorrow. How hippie and
with such impractical sadness the explanation
of the locomotive is. "This is where the
kitchen was. And in this spot, right here
next to the overturned cow, was where we
took our meals for 43 years." Even in
the hollow dark, the sadness wore on.
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Wayne F Burke And A Pointed Reminiscence
after my grandmother
went into the hospital
my grandfather hired Lena,
big as a refrigerator
with silver hair parted in the
middle of her skull and
plastered to her head like a shower cap;
she took the nearly empty
catsup bottle and
run water from the faucet
and returned it to the table;
after dinner she encouraged
the four of us kids
to beat each other with pillows
that we were not allowed to touch,
and she roared with laughter
as we slipped and slid
across the linoleum,
the only time
the four of us
ever did something fun together
but the fun ended
when my grandfather
with a face grave as sin
and hawk-nose pointed at Lena
who laughed at him too:
levity trumping leviticus.
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A Lush New Poem From Poet Witty Fay
VerseWrights Extends A Warm Welcome To Poet Lucy Logsdon
The surgeon has straightened
me out as best he can, my bones
fused, twined with stainless steel.
Pins harness my skittish vertebrae,
ball bearings support my questionable
spine, my sideways being.
I am myself, but a new construction,
too. People treat you different
when you are no longer bent.
I see it in their face, the absence
of dismissal. The lack of quick
and fulsome pity, the small smile.
I fear my spine, leaning, listing,
going slant again. I fear the return
to what I was. I have become an expert
on curvature. I’ve learned a world of new terms,
acquired fluency in deformity’s language.
Kyphosis. Stenosis. Scoliosis.
Hunchback. Call my misshape what you will. I could say
that’s gone, the titanium rods are all
inside, my crooked’s my secret.
But one can only hide so much. The defects are always .....there,
like the flaws in a weakened bridge,
the mending plates in a rehabbed house.
Straight’s been way overrated; the cripple lurks
inside. And she comes out, whenever there’s
something I don’t like. I tilt,
I stumble, I shuffle down the corridors. I remind
you of what you’re not. I shoulder myself
against walls. I keep the center off.
Two Short Pieces From Poet R. H. Mustard
You said you'd meet me
behind the stadium,
in your boyfriend's car,
unlocking the door
to let me in,
holding me closer
You drove in silence
across the river,
to a secluded place
I'd never been,
pulling me forever
into your dark current,
you had to get back.
I barely managed
to stumble away
when you dropped me off,
no longer knowing
myself in the mirror.
I crave a deeper silence,
out of earshot
from probing questions,
answering the phone,
listening to voicemail,
about my future.
Better the phone rings
on and on, until my being
Kicking in the deep end of the pool,
we swim past one another
lost in thought.
It's quiet with ear plugs
and the bottom
seems a long way down.
Ceaseless talk, pretense, lies
all I hear
is the pounding of blood
in my ears.
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Polly Robinson And The "Glow" Of A Childhood Memory
Candles and Splinters
on racks Father made;
wooden, tough, splintery, like Mother.
The cellar doors creak,
a cast latch speaks
with a clatter as the doors shut fast.
My hands search for matches–forbidden matches–
and candles–forbidden candles–
a saucer to catch the wax.
The scent of apples, gift-wrapped in old newspaper,
blend with candle cologne.
I breathe the clagging coal dust
in the darkness of the cellar.
A dozen steps down
from the sliver of a frown,
on the brow of a peevish mother,
her ire aimed at me
for climbing the ancient oak tree.
‘Not ladylike,’ she said,
–raised her hand–I ran–
I’m caught in a soft candle glow.
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Paul Mortimer's Poem Employs Wall As Metaphor
Dry Stone Wall Builder
This one particular stone
has its place.
Weighed in his hands,
His keen eyes scan surfaces for
Seeking for a point
where it can interlock
with the wall that already
down to a gate.
The day is hostile, cold wind
slicing everything needle rain
hunting for anything.
Ragged moorland sheep,
constantly chewing nothing much,
hunker in the lee of the grey wall.
All the time he carefully adds stones
compressional forces alone are binding.
He’s found his place.
Repairing an enclosure
that cannot contain an impulse
to extend the past into future.
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Stefanie Bennett's Paean To A Polish Poet And Diplomat
The Care Giver
~for Czeslaw Milosz
It was justice you saw that day, the tin
Whistle and toy drum
Left near the windowsill.
On side, the candelabra
Wrestled with decay
As you'd done through many
A forgotten year
Of mild stupor And Warsaw's tilled servitude.
If I could draw a sun-scape margin
Around the hospice hour,
Add a peal
Of Winter bells
Consoling to the ear... call
"Come! All you unseen freedom
Play in this
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Poet L.L. Barkat Offers A Unique Sonnet
Upon Learning that Fur Was Lost in Translation (and then learning it wasn't, but too late for this sonnet)
What did fine French Cinder elles wear besides
glass, what high class did they hope to flaunt to
the ball, what gall muster towards, "I do"?
Did they eat ash, secret, pretend inside,
ache for privilege to take midnight steed ride
to prince, to price, to prove flamed thoughts, undo
braided tresses, guesses; did they have clues
about the way ever-after collides
in fives, in tens, muttered end lines tight shut,
a fight to rise between odd hours ticking,
tripping like a da-dum tapped short, slight cut
into small rooms, I am's that jam, turning
coated slippers towards spondee minutes
spent as splintered moments on silk shorn string?
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For M. D. Friedman, The Inspiration Is All
Finding My Own Moon
in this skinny howl
as if it were
of dark chocolate
its own tail
in wild circles
with the joy
of a dervish
in that slide up
to the high howl
and in the quivering
sustain that follows
and makes me stop
whatever I am doing
my own moon
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We Extend A Warm Welcome To Poet Yuan Changming
On Another Rainy Day: for Liu Yu
It rains a lot in Vancouver
Often does this rain remind me of
The days when you sojourned here
With my family, after Father left all of us
While walking in the rain, you would
Recall, under my big umbrella
How you once waited in a drizzle
With me in a broken basket on your back
To cross the widening river, not far
From our village when I was crying hard
For a large spoonful of flour soup (you were too
Weak and too hungry to produce any milk)
Seeing you do nothing about my hunger
The ferry man asked, Where is its mom?
I am his mother! You replied, tears rolling down
With the raindrops on your childish face
How old are you then? – Almost 17.
It is raining again in Vancouver, and beyond this rain
Your voice echoes aloud on the other side of this world
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Neil Fulwood, Victim Of A Repeat Offender
The Inspiration Thief
I have been cleaned out:
I made on the bus
this morning and filed
for later use – gone;
those words overheard
in the staff canteen
that wanted to be
an extended piece
for two voices – gone;
the quirky concept
that threaded itself
through the gunmetal
like a mantra – gone;
the idly conjured
fragments dancing like
around the office,
blowing kisses – gone.
No prints, no traces;
just a ghost’s shadow
a thief turned blacksmith,
my words shaped as his.
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"Rice Paper," A Poem From Poet Layley Lu
There’s a wind
where comes my Australian boy
through the barley in this place,
foreign upon foreign
face of mine
squinting through dust
that is not mine.
I am a fetish
and he is a blistering fever blowing
through my cluttered machiya,
carnage upon carnage
staining my sheets
but walls not mine.
I long to cry.
I long so much for my honesty
through testaments heaping
cloud upon useless cloud
in the emptiness
of this place
that is not mine.
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Brandy Clark Takes Flight (Almost) in her Newest Poem
Back when I was little,
I wanted to be a bird.
I wanted to fly, to soar
over the earth in the crystalline
blue skies, soar with the robins
who taunted cheep cheep
from the trees.
So I fashioned myself
a pair of paper wings--
construction paper,snow paste,
feathers drawn on with
brown and black crayon.
in tiny, sweaty palms,
I set off to the backyard swingset,
its metal rusty and warped.
The perfect launching pad
for my ascent, my mission.
Each step carried me
up to the slide. The robins
continued to taunt me
in a mocking chorus,
but I ignored their taunts, turned,
wings outstretched, and jumped.
Gravity, a cruel parent,
sent me tumbling down
to the grass below,
the green cushion not enough
to protect against skinned knees
and the torrent of liquid embarrassment
cutting through the dirt
and grime on my cheeks.
My invention ended up on the ground,
two sandaled feet stomping
an angry waltz onto a pair of paper wings.
I didn’t take flight this day
or any day after that.
The gentle breeze refused
to keep me aloft,
it did not urge me toward
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I stay with the sentence until it is done
Measuring all the silent words
That lurk behind the uttered lips.
I wish they wouldn’t bustle up my throat
To choke me blind and dry
With the smell of old blood.
And then your mother-of-the-pearl smile
Smoothens the flowing of all syllables
Into the face of the world,
And I turn into a wizard of the unspoken,
Throwing troths at the trees that bear no fruit
Until branches, like full breasts, touch the arbor of the .....sky-
I do it blindfolded, on fleshy hips.
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We Warmly Welcome Poet Ken W. Simpson To VerseWrights
The Heavenly Line
I was a passenger on the Heavenly Line
stopping all stations and running on time
starting early on a lifetime's journey
innocent, guileless and gullible
willingly, but lacking initiative
passive and compliantly pliant
introverted, programmed, unable to think
learning by rote but understanding little
emotionally, socially and sexually repressed
wondering who and why I was
lost to those who had reared me
on my solitary journey
Going somewhere on the Heavenly Line.
I escaped for a time at Fantasy Station
finding salvation in the imagination
with stories and pictures of distant places
a magic storehouse I could explore and enter
escaping behind a phony facade
eluding imagined jeers and taunts
alienated because I failed to adapt
fleeing from that world and into another
where I was indoctrinated
and taught to believe the unbelievable
naïve and uncritically accepting
The fog which lifted eventually.
Listless, helpless people waited
on the platform at Stillborn Station
vacantly milling, vainly hoping
the demented, the crippled, the unborn
for a hope that would never arrive
when we were leaving someone fled
and frantically attempted to board
hanging on desperately as we picked up speed
flailing wildly backwards, into the past
where the immortal soul awaits its fate
for the grace of eternal life
Or damnation in Dante's hell.
In a compartment all alone
I learned to discriminate
between the scenes outside
and the thoughts within my mind
to see other faces in distant places
solve problems and deal with doubts
about being born without knowing why
with travellers on the Heavenly Line
trying to understand a creator
to acknowledge and venerate
a loving, forgiving and wrathful figure
linking fatuity with hope
and the means to save the souls
Of travellers on the Heavenly Line.
In the darkness of the night
entombed within a speeding monster
dreaming nightmares of the horrific kind
losing my way in some alien city
confused by changes in every scene
I awakened relieved
jolted free from fantasies
escaping into a silent, private world
of creativity, fulfilment and contentment
free from the wars being waged outside
by disembarking at Serenity Station
some distance from its destination
knowing I was as close as I would ever be
to a place that didn't exist
leaving behind a ghost train
Going nowhere on the Heavenly Line.
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We Warmly Welcome Poet Karen O'Leary To VerseWrights
Autumn’s colorful hues
have come and gone.
Silver strands replace
youth’s golden tresses.
Gentle strength flows
through her wrinkled hands.
Though bones ache,
a smile lights her face.
Her fragile body encases
a warm, generous heart.
When she eases into a room,
others pause in awe.
In the middle of winter,
her faith flows on.
take two steps back--
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Samantha Reynolds: Big Questions From The Little One
The big questions
You used to ask me about death
in the dark
in the whisper voice you use
when you don’t want
your stuffies to hear
but now you are
so cheerful about it
pointing at old people
in grocery stores
asking me with some excitement
if they are almost dead
yesterday you cornered me
and wanted to know
if people ever die
the night before Christmas
I tell you people die every day
in a tone that tries to say
death is not scary
but perhaps don’t bring it up
so loud in public
so you whisper back
with wide eyes
what does Santa do
with their toys?
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E. Michael Desilets: Two Locales, Two Poems
Broadway & 116th
were waiting for him
at the subway exit
he wasn’t about to explain
he was headed home
from an old movie
Me and My Gal
cops on horses
and prefer you gallop wordlessly
down the hill toward Riverside Drive
and enjoy the jittery Jersey skyline
Locust, Near 9th
She sat on the hood of his car again
hunched in the dark smoking
her old brand. She had
her reasons and a key
she wouldn’t use. Four floors up
also in the dark but smoke-free
he gnawed on microwave pizza.
It tasted like her tobacco tongue
and made him cry. He refused
to show himself at the window.
That had been Cool Hand Luke’s
mistake. She would be out
of cigarettes and gone before
the paper hit the stoop
faithful at least
to her punctilious boss.
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Alaskan Poet Rivka Zorea Laments The Warmth
it was the year
No pillow of soft snow
No children leaning
into icy wind
In Shaktuliq and
the children did
not laugh catching
soft flakes on their
the school where
the Raven flies silently
his usual raucous laughter
only a warning
and the polar bear
sits facing the sea
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Tracey Gunne's Latest Poem Is A Delicate Balance
Growing Up On Our Street
You captivated my lonely days
by painting white lines
we were meant to jump into
your hair hanging loose and always
longer than mine
you were delicate like
the hand me down socks
your mother kept forgetting
she was too busy cooking
Sunday night dinners
where she'd serve herself last
so I thought it would be you
who'd need saving but in the end
it was me
my dad outside at 2 am screaming
at the trees to stop dancing
as my mother tried to capture him
like a frightened bird
Your house was safer for sleepovers
we'd spread pillows on the cold floor
the secrets you whispered were stories
I already knew
but I loved how safe it felt
as we tucked ourselves in
and how you pretended to believe
all the lies I wanted to be true
and how you hid a flashlight
in case the darkness made me dizzy
I remember wanting to touch
the soft skin behind your ear
after you fell asleep without me
if anyone else could be willing
to love you more
We are mothers now to daughters
who we teach to be brave
to walk away from men
who run mad into the dark streets
We remember to tuck them in
We remember to mend
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Two Poems, Two Moods From Jacqueline Czel
In Green Pastures
Dare the roaming scapegoats live or die?
Dare fat ewes and young lambs bleat or cry;
where carcasses and silver casings are strewn;
and warm pools of crimson slicken shades
of ochre, ecru, marron - ebony and brun?
Corpses into cut grass many mothers lower
while o'er hills, patches of civil rights fade;
A star, a badge, a scythe - a swift mowing blade.
Song for a Sparrow
I took a break
from all social chatter
and the evening news,
I took a break - thinking,
I wouldn't chirp
the same old sorry song,
or trill from my tree,
the same old sad blues;
but at last - at last,
I know I must sing,
for the Sun,
the new morning,
and all the hope it brings.
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The Dreams, The Reality in Ana Caballero's Latest Poem
I once thought I could know anything
The death knowledge of the Buddha
The clarifying call of Gabriel
Former lives and abetting suns
That enthrall worlds more able than mine
I too never doubted my time supply
To be the daughter of the dying father
Who buries without the blow of love regret
But my father is dying an excessive death
With a wounded body that aligns
Rare moments of life
To the faint efforts of his mind
And I do
I offer my happy baby’s dance
Ask about our mayor and the bad president
We can wave our related heads with a laugh
I bring home the foods he likes to eat
A bag of sweet yellow tomatoes
That falls when his good hand forgets to grab
And when he insists on phoning my mother
Makes a promise that he won’t speak drink
I do I dance
Far from the Buddha knowledge of the giving death
Deaf to the recurring chant of Gabriel
Books by my bed and worlds of grace
That I grasp
But lack the good hand with which to grab
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Michele Seminara: No More Meddling...
Let's leave everything be.
Let's just stop fixing.
Perhaps if we let everyone settle
clarity will be revealed.
Today I entered the cathedral of the bush --
sought permission to walk the land; felt it granted.
Was buoyed by a chorus of cicadas ululating
their adulation to the Gaia of this world.
(On Facebook a slowed down recording of cicadas —
oh my, what exaltation! Beyond the range of men.)
As I traipse through the bush
in my rag of a dress,
great slobbery dog loping
at my side, a dishevelled woman
with hands clasped behind her back
like some unhinged Confucian scholar --
a brown snake crosses my path.
It's an intimate moment, as if
he has been waiting for me.
What does one do in such a moment?
Let's leave everything be.
Let's just stop fixing.
I want to open like that naked flannel-flower to the sun.
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Allison Grayhurst: Two Poems Of Introspection
reaching my lips, filling my mouth
I am chased and must
drink to survive, to gain a flow
that does not fit amongst all this normalcy.
It plops like an explosive
on my lap and won’t allow me to forget or regret
its pull and command.
Like a ripe peach to the parched throat, it slides down
and radiates relief to all sections of my spine.
It owns me as does the rhythm of my pulse.
It keeps me a part yet binds me as one.
It is my surrender, my glad awakening. It is my freak .....show,
my unhappy necessity:
I bite, I swallow
and then I am brave
Climb on board
where my mystery is sharp
and dangerous. The red light
flashes on the cold embittered face -
a pale grey against a rich tone
of burgundy and black.
On my shoulders, age and history are taken
and every memory is pure, whole, experienced
by the senses, is coming back
like chaos ringing all around.
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Daniel Klawitter And The Trials Of Human Language
The most important thing to say
hasn’t been said yet.
–Plato, The Republic II
They whisper in your ear
But stop just short of what
You hope to hear
And can’t articulate.
Your mouth is mush-
The unsaid phrase
Becomes: “hush child, hush.”
Why so hard to speak
When the garden of words
Is so lush? Why do your eyes
Leak and your heart beat thus?
That fearful fluency
That others trust
In us is non-transparency,
A dam that won’t bust.
But even those who speak
Extemporaneously on their feet
With such seeming ease
And compelling candor-
Cannot exhaust or appease
The desire for language
To be more than precise.
It wants instead to meander
Beyond the limits of grammar
To the unthought-of thought
That causes one to stammer
In the fraught-filled speaking.
The best has not yet been said;
How hopeful to have overheard-
And silence is no cause for dread,
For it precedes the spoken Word.
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