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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Words Were Tumbling in My Head.

I have not written here for quite some time. I am sorry about that.

I woke in the night and was sorting through the archives of Patterns of Ink in search of something else when I found this "saved draft" of a piece I wrote in April of 2008 but did not post. I had originally written it in  prose then tried to see if "blank verse" would add impact to the words.

I once heard poetry defined as "words that don't go all the way across the page." In that sense, some might call this "piece" is a poem. I guess it doesn't matter. All I know is, just now, reading it for what felt like the first time (having forgotten that I'd written it) the words hit me between the eyes. Perhaps that is a suitable definition of poetry: "words that hit you between the eyes." At any rate, here is a poem or a piece or just some "tumbling words" that were in my head three years ago and have been aging in the cellar 'til now.

Two Words

Two words are tumbling in my head.
I've had them there before,
and no doubt so have you.

These two words often mean no harm.
They simply go off like an alarm
in our head when we realize
that whatever was said
or caused the fret isn't worth the worry.
We use them to console ourselves
that what spilled was only milk,
that there are other fish in the sea,
that the grapes were probably sour,
and no matter what we do or where we go,
this may be as green as the grass gets.

I've said these words that way before,
and no doubt so have you.

The eight letters of these two words
can be strung together and spoken in love,
or passed from hand to hand
like fallen pearls from a necklace
with the promise that most things mend.
They can be whispered in a sigh to soothe
like a mother’s voice that lulls “There-oh-there”
to the sad and sleepy head upon her lap.
They can reassure as does a father's hand
upon the trembling shoulder
as if to say, "Never mind what they say."
They can prompt the deep breath
that comes when love helps us
remember what matters most.

I've said these words that way before,
and no doubt so have you.

But these same two words
can slap our senses,
burst our bubble,
and leave our sails slack
with no hope of a breeze.
They sometimes come from nowhere,
hurled in the lake of life like a boulder
just as the smooth skipping-stone
we saved for last leaves our hand.
They can sprout up
from failure and success alike
but seem ever rooted in the same futility.
They can cripple us with the doubt
and indifference of false isolation until,
looking so deeply within ourselves,
we're left without a prayer.
Worse yet, they can leave us wondering
if in the end anything matters at all.

I've said these words that way before,
and no doubt so have you.

These two words echo 'round the world,
and if followed for long they lead to a corner,
the conclusion that life is all about achieving—
that when all is said and done,
only what's said about what is done
gives life meaning.

That's not true, but repeated enough,
these words can belittle into oblivion
any moment, any deed, any person
that for lack of note goes unnoticed
or left uncounted is esteemed of no account.

In this latter sense,
these two words rest juxtaposed
between the heart and head.
The more loudly we exclaim them
the more likely our voice cracks
and our shell gives way
to show a longing for the answer.
The question matters more than we let on.
It implies that we were created not to live in


but communion
and that in the fullness of time and life
our greatest sense of achievement
rests not in ownership, not in leadership...

Our lives offend God least,
reflect Christ most,
and serve our neighbor best
when they answer the empty echo of this plea:

Who cares?'
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