Beyond The Word

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As a little girl

I hear disparaging comments

Made by the adults

In my life

Judgments of people

Even people unknown

Walking down a street

In a store

Though these words do not consume

Sunday dinner conversation

Around Grandmother’s mahogany

Dining table

They are spoken often enough

To create in me

Aversion to judgmental words

Criticism

I hear them     shrink into myself

Sadness moves into a corner

Of my heart

Doesn’t move out

 

My childhood is a patchwork quilt

Of remembering

Scenes of places     faces     voices

Yes     voices

For I have come to understand

It is not words alone

That cause pain

Even more

It is the tone of voice

I hear it

Clench     constrict

Hold my breath

It has always been so

 

Mother seldom speaks of father

Who leaves their marriage

When I am seven years old

But her tone of voice

When she does speak of him

Lets me know the depth

Of her bitterness

I feel devastated

Helpless

 

Now I understand     accept

My reactions     my despair

Surrounding this election cycle

I am witness to

Words never heard before

As they hang in the consciousness

Of everyone who hears them

Vocal tones of ridicule

Scorn

Project the words into the atmosphere

And the feelings they create

Invade like toxic fumes

From the tragedy of

9/11

 

Now     at 84

Words   tones of voice

May still sting

Bring distress

But it is my voice

My words

And what they do

To others

That matter more

I praise

I bless

I forgive

 

I breathe

Save

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3 thoughts on “Beyond The Word

  • October 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm
    Permalink

    So necessary today to point out the tragedy of cruel words. We’all put Miss Wendy.

    Reply
  • November 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm
    Permalink

    Powerful poem, Mom! I am especially moved by the stanza comparing
    this year’s election cycle and it’s negative effects on our collective consciousness, to the aftermath of 9-11! So true!

    Reply
  • May 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm
    Permalink

    Your words & voice matter to us so much! 🙂 You are so powerful Grandma Wendy!

    Reply

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