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Speech and Silence

Picture of Nine Year Old Child Poem


Picture of Nine Year Old Child Poem

SPEECH AND SILENCE                       Madeleine Sklar

The virtue to be cultivated

Knowing when to speak out

When to be silent

When I was a child

I read a fairytale about two sisters

When the good beautiful fair sister spoke

Flowers and pearls

Precious gems fell from her lips

When her bad dark sister spoke

Frogs and snakes and lizards

Because the message was clear

I knew being dark I was the bad

So I tried to keep silent

Watch your words if you want happiness

As darkness hopelessly wishes to be light

I wished for gems of proven goodness

Flowers and pearls

To be good

Silent and sweet

Until I choked on the frogs

Lizards and Snakes writhing

Their coiling and un-coiling grew too much

I couldn’t breathe

Until my words fell hellishly free

Now I see the suffering as

His hands grip the knife

Pry her shell open

Killing the oyster for her pearl

As uprooted flowers die and

Dark hungry men rip

Life-stealing gems from the earth

For a fat prince to boast

Now I free life-transforming serpents

Frogs and lizards of unladylike words

Can squirm and slither

Holy truth

Until the fabric of unspoken words

Speech and silence

Torn between the sisters

Becomes uncontainable

And the hook of the question mark hangs

Swinging above its always-certain dot

Never sure if it should descend

Or rise

Up to Infinite Being

Where all questions are answers

All words are