Words are Not Enough

If I had words to make a day for you
I’d sing you a morning, golden and new,
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a night deep in moonshine —
But no, I cannot.

I cannot, because I have no experience of words.
All my life I cram words into my head
Making me sound erudite, elegant, philosophical
But to no avail. This brain of mine
Will not allow the words to become sentences
Coherent in structure, meaningful in thought
What do you say when words are not enough?
This bird’s cage has been blown wide open
Yet still it does not sing
It merely sputters, coughs, a few syllables spilling out
You try to find meaning in these
A golden morning of sunbeams? A silvery night of moonshine?
My cheeks burn. There was no meaning
There is only my audacity
And so the bird retreats deeper into its cage of bone
Trying to find an inner sanctum
Trying to escape everyone
Trying to hide

I cannot, because I have no experience of days.
I lived in paradise where it was peaceful. And uneventful.
Big white walls blocked out all sights and all stimulation
But concrete is no match for the hammer of life
And they crumble in an instant. Colour rushes in —
What is this mess? What is this chaos?
This is not the world I spent my days in.
Only now, when it is too late, do I learn that
The price for the sound of silence
Is incompetence in the face of the world
How do I sing when I do not know how to face the world?
How can one sing of golden mornings and moonshine
When I know nothing of them?
I am too young, too coddled
To know how to navigate my way through such new horrors
Love and friendship does not come through on theory or sensual delights
They need to be truly experienced. But I have none.
I want to return and discover how not to fall
But when paradise is lost, I cannot regain it

I cannot, because I have no experience of you.
I think I know you. Your face is familiar. I have seen you before.
But still I know nothing of you.
Distant memories pick you out distantly
A blur in a sea of faces
A mystery that could have unravelled centuries ago
Had I bothered to truly interact, and care. But no:
I can only run away from you again after I warble
Just because I am content with one detail, one infinitesimal clue
That seems to unlock your whole self
And lends me your ears for my song
A song which I thought would praise you
And make you enamoured of me
You may not even have needed moonshine and gold
But I thought you did, so that’s what you get.
But we are not mysteries waiting to be unlocked
We are humans of true flesh and blood
… yet I do not know that.

So is this it? Am I to remain in this purgatory
My tongue tied, my brain freezing, my heart stopped in fear?
It really is hard to say exactly what I mean.
Is there one day where I would get out
Singing you the songs I have longed to sing?
Impossible. I have no words, no days to sing of.
But does that mean I cannot learn?
That I cannot pick myself up?
There must, there MUST be some way for me to break free
I will strain against the cage, flatten the walls
Make you a real human again
And try to learn how to really sing
Not with empty words, vacant promises
But with real heart and soul
Befitting who you really are…

And who knows? I may finally, actually come back to you
Then hesitantly try my voice out
Again and again and again
I will never get this damn thing completely right
But damn me if I don’t try to learn…
I wonder who will listen to my foolish songs?
Maybe I can find you down this broken path
Or maybe you can find me…
I guess we’ll know in time.


This is only my third poem , and the beginnings came to me in the shower, so a lack of quality is most certainly guaranteed. I don’t really like poetry — prose is much easier to work with — but I had a bit of a dry spell and I find that these little diversions help clear the mind. Hope you enjoyed it anyway.

I would like to stress that this poem is not about any single person — it’s about the general state of most interpersonal relationships that I found in dire need of talking about There were one or two people that I had in mind while writing it, but it’s just as applicable to anybody. It’s also not really about me — it’s true that this poem is based on what I used to think, but I’ve moved on from this stage and I only wrote them down to lay them completely to rest.

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