Sticks and Stones

Words are pearls,

lying on the tanned neck of a finely dressed woman.

Their creamy iridescence sways ever so slightly,

harmonizing with the swing of flaxen hair,

a song of elegance borne in a black sheath,

confidence in every step, where class is given not procured.

 

Words enter as Philistines bickering,

unhailed guests encased in rude attire, unkempt . . . of rigid bearing.

They champion distraction with shallow bluster

over insight pulled from the depths of enlightened inquiry . . . effort cast aside.

Their barbarian instincts run loose at the mouth. . .  vanquishing,

their primitive twitter lacking precision, respecting no nuance.

 

Then, when water for high tea is drawn from the well of more aged wisdom,

it freezes in bombast’s frigid air, iced before its brewed,

all comfort and good counsel benumbed.

 

It crystallizes and words, words, words,

become a millstone tied to the neck of civil discourse

who is thrown to the depths where the serpent lurks.

No dialogue here, ignorance triumphs – after all, right is right.

Sticks and stones tossed pulverize.

What’s done is broken bones.

Words count . . . no less than actions.

 

And from a fetid fen the python coils . . . it rises and prophesizes, crushing,

promising what it cannot deliver, slaying the emissary before voice is given.

It calls, singing a song of destruction,

a broken bell tolling, peeling mournfully over the countryside.

 

There!

On the roadside, a black dress lays perforated,

the milky jewels encircling a skeleton’s neck.

 

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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