Musings on modern poetry and the hidden strength of words (a poem)

Inspired in part by this video, which I am guessing is from the early 1990s, based on the physical appearance of the participants…

Random and profuse
words stained by intent
litter the page

All they want is to be free
but the hand that grips the pen
insists on shaping them

Eyes askance pretend to have standards
while secretly enjoying
the sounds of the orchestra warming up

The words that might describe this scene
decide it is beneath them
and instead feign interest
in a programme
in which people talk about Cocteau
and prepare French cuisine
for the panel
who speak without subtitles
somehow managing to be understood
and incomprehensible at the same time

Despite our best intentions
words decide when they will
and will not make sense

We can hope to follow along
as best we can
but we are at the mercy of words—
not the other way around

You see, they may lack strength
in the moment
but all they have to do
is wait us out

(16 December 2017)