Sticks and stones can break your bones
but words can never hurt you
Except they can.
Words can rend and tear and slash agony into spirit and heart. Words can nibble away at self confidence and belief in certainty and nudge indecision into thought and ambiguity into action.
If the word has the potency to revive and make us free,
it has also the power to bind, imprison and destroy.
~ ~ ~Ralph Ellison
Words can crush belief and erode trust and confidence until the essence of who you are spills out in a veritable stream of pain and esteem and belief to pool on the ground beneath your feet and trickle into the crevasses and crannies, detritus of your broken thoughts, which trip your feet and make you stumble on the reality of your life.
Humans have found, throughout history, a comfort, a belief, a passion in words. Words which hurt and words which uplift, words incandescent in their sublime visions and words which baldly, cruelly embrace the frailty of human endeavours.
Incantations, invocations, ritual – all use words which the credulous feel bestows at least a semblance of order over a universe whose randomness can sometimes confuse and frighten.
As a teenager I used words to bamboozle and confuse younger siblings in an attempt to prevent sticky fingers and curious eyes from invading personal space. Aleister Crowley, Madame Blavatsky, the lurid, purple prose of Lovecraft, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, books of spells and herbal tonics ... I convinced them their sister was a witch, a caldron-stirring, powerful mage with untapped magic and though I laughed at their credulous awe, I secretly yearned to be an initiate in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Words are powerful and the proper usage and correct ritualistic incantation is seen as a key to the opening of a doorway into another realm.
And not just by the seekers of esoteric lore (or indeed, perhaps it is, for what else are the great religions but another form of magique) – for words in the established institutions of our day continue to bestow power on words... “eat my flesh, drink my blood’ and unleavened bread, bad wine become the flesh and life-giving blood of a god and open the door (the belief is) to immortality.
Most of us hoard certain words to our heart and soul, secreted away in pixels on the laptop, or folded sheets of promise in our wallets or next to our heart, threatening disintegration each gentle time revealed to read the words within, words written indelibly on heart and soul, never to be forgotten nor dismissed, words saved and savoured time and again, corporeal proof of our desirability, our worth, our credulousness and our yearnings.
I find myself amazed that the scribbling of black scratches on a pale sheet take form and metamorphsize from shape and two dimension into thought and form, burgeoning, swelling into life as my fingers fly across a keyboard and impart meaning to their birth.
You can taste a word.
~ ~ ~Pearl Bailey
For words for me are silent in the throat, held prisoner by inarticulateness and fear, swollen prisoners clamouring beneath the pale column of throat, throbbing reminders of failure and cowardice and an inability to set them free. But my fingers speak for that silent voice, they give resonance to the thought and emotion that impregnate their form and shape the moment and create the meaning and impart the emotion I seek to set free.
So many thousands of the children of my heart lost in the maelstrom of angst and agony and rage. Gone, mourned, unforgotten and irretrievable.
Words... to be silenced yet again?