Way With Words

“When I worked in the Circo de Verbose…”

Way With Words

for Umahmad

I lost my way with words when I lost you.
I had this way with them, I was the gentle trainer,
and words were pigeons, squabbling,
until I coaxed them to their place.
And even if I let them go, a thousand miles from where you lived,
I know…because I know…
you felt their wings aflutter, trying to get back home upon your chest,
and there they stayed a while, before they laid upon my sheet to rest.
The odd thing was,
you did not speak the language that they carried deep inside,
nor could you decipher tomes of books, that were written just for you.
You only smiled because you felt them coo.

When I worked in the Circo de Verbose,
I used to line them up, those wild words,
like rearing elephants adorned in plumed helmets,
a Byzantine Army of lines,
in perfect rhythm, marching to endless time.
Majestic, regal, powerful, they could crush those underneath,
but when I felt them crushing me,
I raised my arms and they went limp and willing,
until I took control once more, that they might continue to return.

I needed no whip, no self imposed “write or else.”
It came so easily for me.
The day you cracked open wide my heart,
and out they spilled upon the floor,
of course you were not there to see…
Your absence, and the hope you would return, was really what made the mystery,
permitting them to turn back into poetry.

But now you’ve traveled further than my words can ever reach,
you have gone beyond the need for words, and I have lost the touch.
Because there is no longer any hope of seeing you,
I let my animals out, now they all roam freeThey no longer work for me.
They no longer parade and line up prettily,
nor do they fly and soar to raw emotion that used to be my poetry.
But words become afraid to leave, and huddle in the shadows
if they stay too long in cages, and you open up their door.
And I, who once thought I had a way with them,
now find, I have a way with them no more.

Karima Hoisan
Sept. 28, 2012
LINC Island SL


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17 Responses to Way With Words

  1. Shepp says:

    Your heart, Karima, delivers “words” which dances upon breeze and tempest to delight our senses


  2. Emotional… exceptionally vivid imagery painted by your words. My mind hooked onto in particular the concept about being set free, but huddling in the shadows if caged too long. Very deep!


    • Think you Sis Diz, yes I saw many parts of this poem in vivid pictures too, surreal scenes (one that i tried to capture in my photo) Someone said, “A poet can take credit only for the first line, the rest belongs to the muse). I felt this truth strongly in this one; Thank you sis for diving into its depths..Hugs


  3. jan betts says:

    Wonderful heart felt poem filled with the richness and depth and elaborate visions that touch deeply our heart ( after all, it was written by Karima )…..THEN… i have to laugh at the final words of this eloquent poem “…i HAVE A WAY WITH THEM NO MORE” (referring to words, of course)
    Hahahahaha…. i do so love you and every inspired word you have “no way with”
    !!! Hahaha
    So we do learn time and time again to just Trust our Muse, and its realm of the mysterious… where it works from is the realm beyond words… and we have no control here… when it is ready, the words come effortlessly…. as brilliance, in your case Karima!


  4. Haha Jan, this part of your comment made me laugh out loud,” i do so love you and every inspired word you have “no way with”
    Of course, yes I do see the irony in saying I’ve lost my touch, and yet a poem flowed out..but as I said to Diz, maybe I can only take credit for the first line, that first thought..the rest the muse did all the work..and we both realize the truth, that in the creative process, letting go, letting it all go free is the only way to ride on that flow, so that the final product feels less like “our hard work” and more like another gift, generously given to us. Thank you dear friend for this comment..It made me trust my muse, even in times of low creative drive and inertia.


  5. Nat says:

    After reading it first and (translated all what’s not untranslatable 🙂 ) My first thought was, and I hope you’ll not hate me for being honest, oh, a piece of luxury self-pity.
    But I couldn’t believe this thought and so I read it some more times… and
    OMG, this is a cornucopia of pictures, which will go very deep.
    Way with Words is, for me, a deep love letter to your friend who has passed away.
    But your powerful words wake up long forgotten memories, too…
    Its silly or maybe stupid, but I saw these elephant byzantine army marching two by two over a blank sheet of paper, carrying characters… but then,
    I saw me, long ago, as a child, maybe ten or eleven, sitting in the classroom, painting Noah’s Ark and my best friend and I singing this song we’ve learned in the english lessons, “the animals went in 2 by 2” with the melody of (I know now) “When johnny comes marching home”…
    Which was one of the best days of my childhood, when life was not complicated.

    For me, the most powerful words are “You only smiled because you felt them coo.” Which says all. Not a matter of intellect, just of two fluttering hearts, beat in unison, miles away but near, in a way that mind cant explain…
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words but your words Karima, let my heart and soul paint a zillion pictures.
    eeeehm, dont know if it makes sense, what I wrote above….
    This is one of your best Karima. Gives me a lot and I love it. Thank you so much!


    • First, a big hugs back Nat..I loved your comment once again..because you allow and very openly for me and anyone who reads this, the chance to see how my poetry affects you and how this one brought back a childhood memory. I think that is the “idea” can we say “purpose?” of poetry. Like all Art, it offers a different level of communicating. If we “get’ the poet as you most certainly get me, we have established a next-level connection, where maybe, almost like in dreams, the words speak to our subconscious, and they can float up memories we had long forgotten. Not every poem has that power, and a poet is lucky if he or she writes a few where this happens in mass, and it seems many do get what the words try to convey, but usually it is pretty hit and miss, some will understand, many, it will pass over them without touching. So I smile because you also picked one of my favorite lines too..Yes the meaning was felt in the coo..Thank you for reading me and going to where we creatively have gone already together….


  6. iris says:

    Oh this one is just beautiful, I found I had stopped breathing while I read, that is a sure sign I am captivated, really really one of your best, as is fitting 🙂  I know you will be proud of this one 🙂 thank you for sharing it with me


  7. Aww Iris, so nice to find your comment here,and know that my “untrained words” can still touch you. Thank you too for saying you think this is one of my best, because you have read a lot of my poetry over the years, and that is quite a compliment to “Way of Words” Hugs! and thank you again for leaving this for me to find:)


  8. daleinnis says:

    I love the imagery here, the training and mustering of words, getting the wild ones to behave, soaring in poetry. And the relationship to the other, who just likes the cooing. And I also saw the irony that Jan remarked; that this is a wonderful poem about not being able to write wonderful poems. 🙂 You can’t escape credit by giving it to the muse, because you and the muse are one, Karima!


  9. Well what a nice surprise, Dale, to see you must have stayed up late to leave me your comment:) i do appreciate them as you know, because it is important for the poet to know if she could get inside and turn on your imagery machine and make you dream awake for a few lines…I won’t argue the muse “phenomena” with you..I can concede on some level, yes you are right, but that muse is beyond any control that I might devise,,and I am subjugated to her and her moods and for sure not the other way around..So happy you liked it..smiles…thank you for stopping by


  10. Hoyt Heron says:

    Dearest Karima,
    As long as you have her in your memory, no matter where she is, or how many years go by, your words will always reach her. You honor her in a way that would make her smile, blush, and send her deepest love to you. As always, you are magician with the written word!


  11. Hoyt Heron says:

    Wow! Now reading again…Your beautiful words come at me from another direction. In fact.. I can envoke your recent writing endeavor “Stabbed in the Ego” as to what happened to me between my first interpretation of your opus and the second look. (I had better not attempt a third reading at this moment). This poem typifies what you have always been able to do. One can look at the sunset from all corners of the earth, and at each viewing will partake what they see from a different angle. Such is the way with your poetry. I never fail to be bowled over by your talent. I will go out on a limb and thank you from all those that have been touched by you and your magnificent talent.


    • Thank you Hoyt for your first comment and then your second after re-reading it..Yes you are right, it is about Umahmad too, but it is more than that. Umahamd was the one who, not even trying, just disappearing, broke my heart in such a way, that poetry was the blood that flowed out..and has been flowing ever since.. yet after her death, I felt a certain type of block surrounding me, in the form of a “possible lack of inspiration” like a pack of wolves moving in closer …but with this poem, I was able to escape that fate, the fate of a poet who’s muse has gone..and in irony, writing about how I could not find the words, has helped me find them again..Thank you for seeing my poetry from all the angles, and for always letting it touch you and letting me know that it did..


  12. This wrangling of our thoughts into an organization of words with meaning that endures the clutter and discarded slogans of pointless daily public communication is the continuing trial of poets. I will remember parts of this in conversations to come.


    • Thank you RoseDrop, fellow poet who I so enjoy hearing…yes the process is the closest thing to an eclectic hybrid of unpractical magic, pigeon and elephant training that I can imagine..and the results are rarely what we project either…I’m glad you found it memorable..I am sure you could relate as you wrangle more often and with more frequency, than I could ever think of doing!


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