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There are words written inside of me,

that are written already in the wide open sky.

They seem to disappear like wispy clouds

or like birds that have flown away,

leaving their bright signature in the air.

They are flashes of light that illumine

the very depths of my being,

these words that want to be sung.

They well up in the heart, they breathe

in an atmosphere of spring air,

the cool of a summer evening.

They have wings, they are free

yet they are most intimate,

closer than my own skin.

“I found God in myself and I loved her,

I loved her fiercely” says Ntozake Shange

who knows what I’m trying to say.

But there’s a problem with words

They are not the experience,

that sharpness of sense, a longing

or a loveliness more real than words.

But I want to make the vision last,

I want to tell you about it.

Maybe then I can make it stay.

Inside the limits of language can it be sung

alive again, touched and tasted and known

so deeply it will not run away.

About the Author

Dorothy Riehm lives in Northampton in a cohousing community. A retired social worker, she has been writing poetry on and off for many years, and now in her 80’s has been sending her work out for publication. Her poetry has appeared in Friends Journal, Passagers, and will be in the forthcoming issues of Silkworm and Linea.

1 Comment

Sep 07, 2022

Oh my, Dorothy! Such an evocative, lyrical expression of a familiar desire and conundrum. Thanks for writing this poem!


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