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“Words” by Edwin Thumboo
Words are dangerous, especially
The simple kind you leave behind for others,
For undesirable relatives and assorted purposes.
They are understood simply, edited,
Taken with a kind of air, a careful disregard:
Their plainness complicates.
When you say Tell him please
That the anger has come to pass
That friendship is not maimed…or
Please do come but after the
Fever has been put aside…
When you mean to be polite,
Careful, explicit, considerate, circumspect,
Adopting the proper tone,
You are likely to be quoted as saying
Words are neither valid, merciful nor bad,
In themselves, nothing unless used, urged,
Imported into dialogue,
Becoming part-anger, part-laughter, bruised,
Adding to the mood and gesture.
Words are words. Except for us
They are not personalities.
We make them into poems.