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Words and Decision: Two Poems on the Power of Writing

Updated on November 8, 2011
Is one flower a better choice than the other?
Is one flower a better choice than the other?

Words and Decision: Two Poems on the Power of Writing

Following are two poems that were written together and designed to be read as a set. They are very different poems about the same topic and the nature of the topic lends itself well to being worked in two separate pieces instead of one. The poems are both about the choices that we make when we are writing and how that affects the final outcome of the piece.

Words is a poem that is about how writing a poem slows down the way that we look at language. When I speak or even when I write a long prose piece, I don’t necessarily think carefully about the words at first (although arguably one always should!) When I write a poem, I work out each word carefully to make sure that it conveys the precise thought that I want to put on the page. Then I edit it to make sure that I’ve chosen the words I really want, taking one out here and adding another there to create a finished piece that conveys meaning and image without unnecessary extras.

Decision is a poem about remembering the power that we have as writers and how that power lies in the words that we choose. It discusses how each line and letter is filled with the potential to be something amazing if we make the right decisions. It is about what happens when we let the writing become automatic and stop thinking carefully about our word choices.

I have chosen to juxtapose the two poems to further illustrate the point that each of them is making. Each one is about the same basic thing and yet they use entirely different words and images to convey that point. They both were written by making choices.


In poetry I naturally use words I wouldn’t use otherwise

Sibilance and alliteration cascade across my page

I gnaw on thoughts, mull

When in real life I just think

I grin, when I have never grinned

Smiles and smirks staccato my true self

But in poems, I grin

In poetry I find enlightenment

I make detailed observations on the mundane

The sounds I hear around me become

Splotches and spatters and thunderstorm claps on the page

In speaking, I spew sound and make sense

In poetry, I choose more carefully to convey meaning

Simplicity and nuance

Choices easier toobtain graspsustain

When editing is an option

There is always a red wheelbarrow

But it can be overturned or brimming with anticipation,

Abandoned and desolate or adorned with a child’s hand drawn embellishments

Each word is a decision.


Every word on the page is a decision

Life can flow so easily from the nub of a pen

Sometimes it seems to happen too quickly

It feels too automatic

We forget that each phrase was a choice

A letter a part of the plan

We spill our souls in scribbles

We speedrace our hearts to the punctuation point finish line

But every capital letter is a beginning

And there is always a decision waiting to be made


Submit a Comment

  • yusefblack profile image


    7 years ago

    How very true... the beauty of words, when from the heart

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 

    7 years ago from Nepal

    Hindu scriptures say in the beginning there was only Word and God came out of it. The exact words are: Word is God.

    Loved your poem.


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