Army of Words (a draft)


Words are sinister beings:
You thought you knew them well;
You thought you had a grasp of them;
You thought the dictionary and
All those years in the scriptorium
Are enough to domesticate them.

So confidently you write away
With the flair and arrogance
Of an unsuspecting schoolboy,
Or a haughty generalissimo
Placing words here and there
To yield the utmost
Of your strategy.

But an insurgence is in the brew:
The rebellious words stare back
Blankly at your commands,
In silence they sneer at you –
Your incompetence and complacency;
They hollow themselves out to mock
Jeering the echoes of nothingness –
Armour-plated with fragile sounds,
Indignant to requests of meanings;
They cloak themselves with falsity,
Painted with the colour of loyalty
O’er your deep thoughts – and pledge
To transmit your messages accurately;

Don’t be fooled by their appearance
That they are harmless little things
Invented by us, human beings
To serve our whimsical thinking.
Oh! You don’t know what monstrosity
Was made by us – creatures that achieve
Independence once they are complete;
Refusing to represent our will
They decline to speak, and let
Only their armour clink, bursting
The air with unutterable cacophony:
The loudest of noise,
The emptiest of sounds,
Ringing and clinking,
Ringing and clinking,
Until the emptiness becomes so loud
We have to strip the words of sound
And listen silently for
What they have to say.


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