when words fail


Words can speak life

into a person’s soul

but sometimes words

are only silent syllables,

empty vowels mouthed

between lame consonants

not knowing where to spit.


In raw personal disaster,

how can anyone find words

that won’t do more damage

to an already fragile psyche?

Shame, blame, trite phrases

prove how small irretrievable

words only multiply misery.


Words elude both tongue

and pen when faced with a

child’s death by miscarriage,

accident, suicide;  Language

languishes in presence of

slow painful suffering  by

cancer, AIDS, dementia.


Who has an answer when words fail?



12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. freyathewriter
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 20:49:00

    Yes, words are not the answer to everything. Sometimes a touch, or just a look, are enough, or provide far more than words can.


  2. shanyns
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 19:51:54

    So true. Well said, and wisely worded!


  3. C.C.
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 01:17:59

    Trite phrases in the face of loss and grief definitely multiply misery. Ugh. I like how you answered your own question with the Maya quote. Perfect ending.


  4. Bryan Ens
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 04:54:56

    So true! And the Angelou quote was a fine cap-off to your poem


  5. Grace
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 23:16:17

    Beautifully written including that quote by Maya ~ I agree that during those moments, words are not enough and may only multiply the misery ~


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 20:14:34

    I fully understand this.. When words become hurtful platitudes.. Or cut striations deep into the soul.. Great words and much truth.


  7. writerwannabe763
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 19:15:12

    A comforting hug or arm around the shoulder…. a simple ‘ I don’t have the words…but I care’…. Diane


  8. Constance Ann Morrison
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 14:18:22

    Your poem reminds me of the days following the death of a family member. I don’t remember people’s words. I remember that they came and that they made me feel they cared.


  9. bmiller007 (@bmiller007)
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 12:05:54

    words can def damage….abuse….with held words can as well…neglect is just as abusing..leaving people out…abandoning…when faced with a tragedy it is hard to know what to say…because every little thing is a raw spot….and you are right you can feel like you are doing more damage


  10. claudia
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 04:13:03

    love that quote… and yes.. the words will be forgotten but never how they made them feel or how they changed things or encouraged or hurt them… we need to respect the power of words but also their borders and the tongue needs a wise captain


  11. Gretchen Leary
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 03:33:05

    I knew all too well how words can become absent when emotions run deep. Nicely done and I love that quote you added


  12. Mary
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 03:18:42

    Your words ring so very true. So many times words do elude both tongue and pen. To try to say something to someone who has been through such a great loss….well, it is hard if not impossible. The Maya Angelou quote is so very true. She was so very wise.


I welcome your comments!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: