Columbine – dVerse


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They scatter, these unwanted words

dripping with sarcasm and vitriol.


Tendrils of spite germinate and flourish

entwining whispers and hisses behind hands,


as if the very lowering of voice and timbre

will cloak their malfeasance in honey,


reduce the bone-grazing cut to a mere abrasion.

Secrets are sprinkled with an eye to inflict


damage so deep that recovery requires

strength that Atlas himself would admire


even as he carries the world on his shoulders;

this is as nothing to the downward-looking.


Wounds of word war-craft cannot be seen,

cannot be photographed, do not reveal themselves


as visible evidence in Court No. 1. Yet this abuse too

resonates – and whilst mental scarring also heals


much like a bruise, or a bone broken in anger,

it is carried, leaden, inert, hidden:


hidden, that is

until the point of no return is reached.


This week, on dVerse Poetics, Shanyn  has asked us to write as if words are seeds. What an interesting idea, not to mention, imaginative!

I’m not quite sure if I have travelled down the right (weed-strewn) path with this one, however, I was keeping plant life in mind as I wrote and, as you can tell, looked at word-seeds sown that really should be kept to themselves. Whilst weeds, I think, are beautiful plants and flowers growing in a place that we humans did not choose, word-seeds of the nasty sort should never be sown at all! Bullying is wrong, irrespective of whether it is physical or mental.

Please pop over to dVerse to see how others have risen to the word-seed challenge – I will be linking up later!

*Columbine, or aquilegia is actually my favourite flower – how ironic that it is poisonous!



45 thoughts on “Columbine – dVerse

  1. when i worked in counseling there was a lot of undoing the damage that words did…unlike physical wounds which heal often the verbal ones fester and last beneath the surface…forcing people to believe things about themselves that are not true…word wounds are much longer lasting…

  2. mean words can destroy so much – and we should def. not be using them – cause they can cause such deep wounds and “infect” others as well

  3. So much damage can be done with those sarcastic and vitriolic words. Often the damage doesn’t surface until years later. A bullied child lives with damage for a long time. Your poem tells it like it is.

  4. Words are so dangerous, especially the ones where we are supposed to hear one thing and feel another thing entirely. This is so very good, well written and you nailed it.

  5. It is incredible how, years after the words were uttered, people can remember hurtful words that they were told as children. I tend to believe that it is for parents to teach their kids how to use words wisely, not least by doing so themselves.

  6. This is the third time this week that I’ve been reminded of the destructive potential of words. Twice in poetry, once in the bible. That final couplet says so much. Words can destroy the will to live. And I didn’t know beautiful columbine were poisonous!

    1. I knew about the flowers because my mum has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of plants! Yes, words are so insubstantial and yet the damage they can do is beyond anything else.

  7. Yes, words can be so damaging, and it can be so difficult to escape the thorns they throw out. A really interesting take on the prompt!

  8. I am reminded how words can wound and leave such a deep hidden scar ~ It will take years to undo an thoughtless or careless words ~ But I also believe healing can come with soft and caring words ~

  9. One of the problems with being an Actor for a decade was the negative reinforcement, the being rebuked, turned down, disrespected; driving me into another vocation before my self image eroded completely. We of the wordsmith community certainly (hopefully) understand the power of words; nice take on the prompt.

  10. The hurt or pain given by a sword can be healed but that given by words cannot. So, we really need to choose our words carefully. Lovely poem.

  11. I love the line “Seeds are sprinkled with an eye……….”. From beginning to end, you described the damage and scars words can leave behind. Amazing! Thank you for letting me know my link wasn’t working on my blog, My Constant Thoughts.

  12. This is an excellent metaphor of bitter seed of bullying..and the warcraft ways..serve to numb empathy..for a place of potential vengeance..that is not as present as is in now…

    And timely of course..

    if only people believe in victory

    instead of


    The world
    will be potentially
    a place of greater
    peace..for all…

  13. That old saying “words can never hurt me” gosh how wrong was that one! The use of verbal bullying can change a person’s life into turmoil. A strong point made in this one.

  14. Just had this conversation earlier today with my older son, who tends to start shouting ‘I hate you! You are a monster! You are XXX -horrible adjective…’ whenever he gets frustrated. His anger (and his own words) are forgotten within 15 minutes, but for those who were the target of his anger, those destructive words leave lasting wounds. Or so I try to explain. Maybe I should read him your poem instead – it says it so much more eloquently.

    1. I hope you manage to get through to him – it can be challenging, can’t it? I would be humbled if my words helped, really I would. Thank you – and good luck.

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