December 8, 2005

By the Rivers of Babylon

The words I will not speak
take up arms against me;
I dodge and parry,
feign a forgetting.

(Yea, I wept when I remembered)

But strangled they rumble,
rebuke my mute heresy:
the erstwhile poet
gone stoic as stone.

(They carry me away captive)

Outwit the impulse!
Offer no words to ignite
this wretched pyre!
Grit. Clench. Count... there.

(They required from me a song)

Oh, but mark their cunning:
the stifled devils
are packed inside
every sharp pencil I see.

(They waste me, require of me mirth)

Heartburn, hear me:
you will have no words
no words

(Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth)

I dare not
any drawers.

(Let my right hand forget)

Please, Lord
take the sharpener away,
but leave the erasers
just in case.

Must I hang my harp in the willow?

written by Lynn
while singing Psalm 137


fa-so-la-la said...

Beautiful, beautiful. Your best to date, I think. I love the way you wove the Psalm through it.

Ah, the power of pencils!

Lynn Bruce said...


It was interesting how that Psalm kept going through my head while I wrote the verses... it was not until I was actually finished with the poem that I noticed how well the Psalm phrases fit when I laced them around the stanzas. Just a poetic felicity.

Glad you like it.

Androphenese said...

i like it too