Thursday, April 07, 2011

Poem #7 -- Words


Sticks and stones have fallen out of favor.
The weapons of choice these days are the words.
What were they thinking when they declared words harmless?
Most likely, a bully penned the childhood chant
That was meant to soothe our feelings
But which left us feeling betrayed, lied to, twice burned by words.
Words have power.
They are weapons of mass destruction and meticulous torture.
They belittle and marginalize. They slap, pummel, goad, and mock.
In a culture of competition, words are for winning, beating, challenging, conquering.
Words hurt.
And they do to leave marks. Just too deep to be seen.


  1. I posted a video made by an eighth grader about just this...we viewed it and had great discussions in my 6th. grade class.

  2. Wow! More huge truth from an amazing poet, teacher, and friend!

  3. Wow! This makes me think of a quote from Georgetown law professor Mari Matsuda. "Sticks and stones can wreak flesh wounds that will heal; words embody powerful ideas that can permanently mar or mend the psyche."

  4. Amen, brother! Love that quote -- so much more true than the short and false version...

    (word verification:

  5. Wow! Thanks for this. Those marks too deep to be seen, so true.

  6. This is such a powerful poem. It made me think about how much more difficult my high school years would have been had Facebook been around then. I have one high schooler who seems unaffected by it, but I worry about my daughters and what they'll have to deal with online someday. Well done!

  7. this poem really does take you back to primary school days, but its application in adult real life is still poignant. i like it.

  8. Anonymous2:24 AM

    I hate those marks. Hate them!

    But I love you for showing them. Thank you.

  9. Powerful poem using words in the right way! Ironically our pastor talked about the use of words in his sermon just last Sunday, and he also brought up the problems with the "sticks and stones" phrase.

  10. I had to come back and read this poem after today's. And it's true - our culture is all about the vituperation and the vilification, we are THE snarkmeisters and the nasty-word brigade.

    I hate it. Am doing my best not to be a part.


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