The Trouble With Words

Tell me,
how does one write poetry
in a language
so sorely lacking in words
as English?

How does one compensate
for the absence of a word
describing that feeling of destiny
when a cute girl with curly hair
and tights pants answers a question
with a brilliant smile?
Or what about that tense,
electric aura floating in a room
occupied by de facto
platonic friends,
who fail to study but bond
deeply over obscure websites
and abject silliness?

One could rifle endlessly
through volumes of dictionaries
and not a find a word sufficient
for these tasks––
Fate is too somber to sing
as sweetly as that first meeting,
Affinity falls short,
stumbles to capture the romance
built into kindred souls.
A poet could think for decades,
experiment with every
prefix, suffix, and stem,
and still fail to christen a word
perfectly suited to the job.

How does one communicate
the sensation of a crack
about the heart as it falls in love
across dozens of state lines?
What is that sensation,
the antithesis of emptiness,
as one stares sorrowfully
eastward across the Atlantic
and out to space?
Is there a word that really embodies
a meaning deeper than pretty lights
at the sight of fireworks
in all directions?
Where does one begin hunting
for a word that tells how it is
to step back into Texan July
with a shiver and goose bumps?

It would take a thousand poets
a thousand years to create
words perfect enough
for these moments
and the myriad to come;
it would grind wordsmiths to dust
despite their famous names
and unending legacies
to search for words so softly visceral.
But poets are brave
or stupid or both,
surrendering themselves happily
to the infinite heartbreak
of chasing a love
as beautiful as you.


About andrewwhiting

A sentimental and sarcastic poet, lover of language, traveling and nature (not a fan of the Oxford comma).
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