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”
Thank you, Morgan! 🙂
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…
Oh yes, the manipulative effect of words can be devastating. It’s very hard to recover from.
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
Infection – yes, definitely.
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.
Yes, a child can be irretrievably damaged. Thank you, Mary.
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.
Thank you so much, Shanyn. The prompt was great fun to respond to!
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.
Oh indeed. The adage about sticks and stones really isn’t true. Names, or crule words hurt long after a bruise is healed…
Negative words are poison ….Good write,
Thank you, Ayala.
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!
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.
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!
Thank you, Kelly.
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 ~
Oh yes, healing through talking and listening is a gift, I agree. I (as is mostly the case in my writing), travelled on the dark side.
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.
Oh yes, I cannot imagine working as a professional actor and having to deal with all of that negativity. Thank you, Glenn.
Wow, this is fabulously good–and that is interesting about the Columbine, deadly beauty.
Thank you, Starralee. Yes, deadly beauty indeed!
You’ve got me thinking it might be an interesting project to research all the plants of deadly beauty now!!
Those words of malignant seeds.. those that grow like weed and quench the flowers you want to nurture.. those seeds we need to sort out
Yes, we do indeed.
Words can do damage…you powerfully describe the terrible “wounds of word-warfare”…may all of us pause to consider
Thank you, Lynn!
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.
Thank you, Vandana. I think it is too easy to inflict lasting hurt with words – we just open our mouths and speak…
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.
You’re welcome! And I’m glad you enjoyed my poem 🙂
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
will be potentially
a place of greater
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.
I agree – I always thought that was a ridiculous saying, even when I was a little girl! Thank you 🙂
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.
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.
the pen is mightier than the sword indeed.
words can never be returned, once let go they pierce or miss but we never get the hurt back.
I agree – like an ever-flying arrow…
A very powerful reminder of how powerful and harmful hasty words can be.
Thank you, Bryan.