Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

-- Anne Sexton


Oh how I love this poem. Brimful of the literary love of words laced with the reminder to be careful with them as "they can be both daisies and bruises" (cf James 3).

Of late, my words have been failing me - in speech (Got ticked off good and proper by Mr Gray on careless use of slang!) and on paper - so for awhile, I might be using the words of others: Lewis, Challies, Sproul, Donne, Elizabeth Jennings and poems poems poems.

Before I was a grown up or anything that required a name or label, I was the girl sitting in her room reading reams of funny rhymes and oddball poems. In this stuttering season, I might go dig some out; poems today are so serious! So full of sex, love gone wrong, suicide (all Plath's fault!) and existentialist angst - gimme some Edward Lear, Shel Silverstein, Mary Oliver, Jonathan Swift and Ogden Nash with a dollop of Oscar Wilde thrown in for good measure please.

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