Words (2010)

A word has been
The frailest thing that ever was.
The hooting ghost of thought
wind pushed over muscles, through mouths
faint pencil on paper, ink on internet
symbols drawn on air
writing on water.

In the world of feet and hands words are
Sounds warding off bullets
thoughts spoken against shrapnel
a poem to halt the booted feet
a phrase to break the power of money
stories of warmth and providence
against literal cold
and literal hunger
Books against beasts and bombs and cold steel bumpers

An idea for a home
the wind for a meal
Nouns for a shield

but they land, these little things
these sounds and shapes on paper
they slip into ears and eyes and hearts and minds
like ghosts
and hope
and filter in and dance about,
warm and glimmering
and filled with light
and they warm the cold places
and soften hard things
and succour weak things
and makes steady the wavering
and give bones of steel to half-held hope

And the eyes look once again to the horizon
and the shoulders set
the hands grip the tool
and the tool is lifted
as the heart remembers why
and oh God, Oh God,
the world is changed.


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