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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

The Artist

I knew a man
who had a word for everything.
Could paint pictures on stone,
carve epigrams in wood,
capture tenses,
and like fence,
block everything out.
He could sum a clue
into an answer,
and people were amazed.

He was an artist.
He found the heart of a matter,
lifted wiggling from the chest,
pulsating with the fury
of its empty chambers.

But speaking to him
I found the number of words he used
filled only a page,
were only flourishes.
A boy of five had more,
and his adoring subjects
could fill books.

He was a mime
when he used language.
He waved his hands like wands,
grimaced outrageously,
danced as he spoke,
pounded a tree,
wept tears at a slight,
hummed with joy.

He was a show,
orchestra and conductor,
so no one noticed
the few words he had.
But he understood edges and lines,
cold and wet,
pain and sorrow.
The empty places between thoughts,
the fullness of silence,
the rumble of rain.
And people found him articulate,
missing nothing,
capturing all nuance,
leading them to mystery.

And he was a man without language
in the usual sense.
His arm would encircle you,
and you knew what he knew.
His eyes would gaze rapturously
and you saw what he saw.
His lips would purse
and carry the day.
He invented a language
that everyone heard,
and when he died,
people said,
he had a way with words.

Published inIndex of all Poems