i admit, it’s so tender, unspoiled
tongue forages for the right words ~
they always carry the light of Spirit,
always merge with the mind and
the heart, always temper and
stir, if you use the right ones,
if you use them the right way,
the way of what we call honest,
durable and full of life, words
that speak in every moment,
to every heart; but words come
stale and dry, jejune or threadbare
devitalized, dull and unimaginative,
pondering – something authentic?
constant, colorful … all that and ..
buoyant, fresh – Yes! the right word,
vibrant and fearless clarifies vision and
frees us from our prison of lost hope

“Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”  Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

© 2014, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON EIGHTEEN, Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.“Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terror attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden desire that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.” Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century


  1. the doctrine [title in bold!]

    of inevitable progress –
    the present the highpoint
    of cultural and personal development –
    the ancestors treated with condescension
    the thinkers ignored unread
    (those who told it how it really is) –

    the present (so they say – the powerful ones
    in their powerful ignorance) is
    the threshold to a Golden Age –
    provided you accept our
    version of events…

    tissues of false imagery
    & abstraction

    progress is the ghost
    of a big black dog
    cocking its leg against the lamp-posts
    of infinite dark streets –
    a convenient construct;
    an unsubtle trick of the imagination;
    a laying of eggs
    in a basket that does not exist


    This comes from my collection ‘The Recovery of Wonder’ (2013)
    I focused on ‘words that fool’ and remembered this one. There are many words that fool, especially abstractions. The way to recognise an abstraction is to wonder whether you could put whatever the word is supposed to represent into a wheelbarrow. You could put a pound of apples in a wheelbarrow but what about ‘justice’, ‘beauty’, ‘love’, ‘democracy’, and in this case ‘progress’?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bravo! and Thanks, Colin. I remember this poem and I don’t know what happened to it. Anyway, so please to read and have it and to share it with others next Tuesday. Be well …


  2. a second one…..

    :: those words again ::

    rather a lot of words were said in friendship.


    good words.

    #writing for jamie.

    words on health and well


    recovered, we admired

    the socks, little boots.

    she knew who i meant, a small

    description. the bluebells are down

    the road she told us.

    kind words come in memory and subjected


    some folk cannot connect other than eyes

    while some utter such kind words; honey

    and furry bears.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Jamie. My contribution to the prompt, so far.

    . words needed .

    alongside gestures of despair,

    may communicate thought

    better. or worse?

    so lets be singular

    enjoy our own space,

    and be friends, forever.

    she says that you

    cannot see some people’s souls,

    perhaps we need to look harder.

    there is a lot going on.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m reading an excellent book, “To the End of the Land” by Israeli author David Grossman. I just came across a review of the book that does good justice to Grossman’s latest novel (http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-wayward-eulogy), but I wanted to mention just one of the many pearls in his book: “… Do you mean these paths speak Hebrew? Are you saying language springeth out of the earth? …” I loved the idea that our languages spring from the land that our forefathers and descendants live and die in, that Hebrew and Arabic have exactly the right sounds to onomatopoeicly express the realities of the Middle East. Of course the English poems I write about Israel can never really capture the essence of this land, unfortunately for me. My ears were formed by the backwoods of Ohio and Indiana. I feel like Moses standing on Nebo Peak seeing Israel from afar, but unable to enter it. I am in Israel, but in some other dimension of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jamie, here’s my submission:

    No Words

    Like Light On A Needle

    light shivers on a cobweb strand
    between curved lace frills
    of a woven white table cloth
    in a spring front room.

    Glare of harsh words
    incandescent behind watery eyes
    focus on insignificant details
    as each of us folds our legs
    away from the other

    in the silence
    below the radio songs
    below the doppler
    of cars and people outside
    waves break up sunglint
    on a pebbled shore

    Don’t Read

    this sentence.

    Don’t understand this meaning.
    Don’t interpret this link between words.

    Don’t interrogate each word
    as having a separate existence
    from this context.

    Don’t recall where you first heard,
    or read these words as they
    have no history.

    They have not been written before.
    They are new born, awaiting meaning.
    They need maturity to fit in correctly.

    Will have their wild times in places
    where they shouldn’t be, next to words
    they will be embarrassed to recall.

    Second Fiddle

    Always the presence
    never in the presence of…

    Always carries the coat,
    never owns the coat.

    Always opens the door to…
    never for whom it is opened.

    Always the ghost…
    never the blood and sinew.

    Always mouths other’s words
    never mouth’ own.

    Always imitative
    never innovative.

    Always derivative
    never different enough….

    First Fiddle

    never in the presence…
    Always the presence

    never carries the coat,
    Always owns the coat

    never opens the door to…
    Always for whom it is opened

    never the ghost…
    Always the blood and sinew

    never mouths others words
    Always mouths own

    never imitative
    Always innovative

    never derivative
    Always different enough….


    Chat to the motor museum curator
    at his post behind the counter.

    “Have to bring my wife. She was into bikes, and can remember every…”

    He looks at me.


    I am an idiot.

    “Those things with numbers and letters on the front of cars?”

    “Number plates”.

    He replies with sharp sarcasm,
    and no smile.

    The older I get
    what were once obvious words arrive less
    and less when and where I need them.

    Liked by 1 person

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