Only Words

“For the ancient Hebrew, the way out of the Second Commandment was — to make images in words.”  –A.M. Klein

Rules:
always rules.

A transcendent idea
inevitably followed by
a “Thou shalt not…”

No building, no matter
what your true intentions.

No speaking of any consequence;
all voices stilled by the ineffable.

Above all, no images;
inner eyes blinded by ever-shall-be’s.

Strength atrophied within the enforced humility.
Somehow, the mystery all around us
was meant to be ignored, not glorified.

The walls had reasons, of course —
community, structure, protection —
but always there was the feeling of
a portal we were meant to discover.

And we found it —
groping in the darkness
we found it
in a whisper borrowed from the rain;
in the near-silence of pen on paper;
in the etching of quiet words
that few, if any would read.

As it was in the beginning,
there remain the cynical choruses
of only words,
but we share the secret celebration.

That only when
thoughts use lips
to leave us lonely,
only then —
unexamined, unrepaired —
are thoughts made only.

[for Frank Manley]

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