Volume VIII, No. 1, Fall 1980

No Less Than A Thousand Words

Poem by Patsy Watts, Photos by Mary Schmalstig, Doug Sharp, Lance Collins, Stephen Hough

 A word

escaping from tightly pursed lips,
dances cockily through the heavy air,
attempting to captilate the entire
story for the attentive listener.

But from the time it leaves the mouth,
ts noise is harsh and grating--and the
ears it falls on
are no longer eager to receive its

Though it tries
it cannot hold, nor even grasp, the gist of
the worlds of experience of each subject it
is asked to portray.
And anything short of perfection
cannot be accepted.

A word cannot grasp the tender warmth of a
mother's embrace,
nor the desolate image of one so totally alone
as to not be able to share his warmth.


A word cannot move quickly enough
to keep pace with the rapid excitement of being
and facing the startling coldness of new
nor is a word intricate enough to work its way
in and out of the tiny nooks that busy fingers
must edge in and around


A word cannot endure the rhythmic percussion
of a craftsman shaping his life with a metal hammer,
nor last even half way through the endless battle
between woman and washboard.

A word cannot capture the character by
tracing the lines
in the face of a farmer as he cares for
his animals
with almost the same attentiveness as
he cares for himself.


A word does not tell the life of one who has faced
countless trials without release,
nor offer an excuse for the contented smile
for having survived the battle.

A word does not communicate
what searching eyes and open palms make clearly evident.

A picture . . maybe.
But it would take no less than a thousand words.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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