The Words You Don’t Know Anymore

The sun is a wooden
Sea overrun by
The shadows of birds.

Nevertheless, who will
Find for us

The primitive words
For arriving stars?


Just as you are ready
To settle in,

Take away
The floor.

The words you don’t know anymore

Are poetry.


(Another old poem revised.)

19 thoughts on “The Words You Don’t Know Anymore

  1. Well, I haven’t seen the old(er) version, but I adore this!

    The first stanza is pure imagination. It’s like a painting, really, by a Surrealist. Those birds are diving in and out of frame for me as I read this, shadows pecking at the sun. I really love that, and the disjunction between wooden…. and …..Sea. Stop toying with me! Ha ha.

    “Who will find for us…..”? Good question. There is a cosmic loneliness to this, that comes out so clearly in the next phrase, which is genius (“The primitive words/For arriving stars”). You’re playing with a time concept, and I think it works beautifully…..the words are primitive, but the stars…..they are moving towards (not away, as in an expanding Universe). And it reminds me of the Greeks and Babylonians and Persians–those cosmologists of old, and return to a previous order……I love the word “primitive”.

    The final lines are so cool. Just as you are ready to settle in, Take away the floor……Yes! Don’t get comfortable for,

    “The words you don’t know anymore” are poetry.

    You make it look easy, Bob. Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. what an exquisitely strange image to open the poem; I love and ‘get’ the last section, the metaphor of the floor suddenly not there, leaving us stranded in a dimensionless space, lost for old words, grappling for new — but you said it so succinctly —

    Liked by 2 people

  3. hey Bob…i often wonder if there is a power in old words. i guess like incantations or something and if we say them over and over, they might bring us some sort of joy? but like you say here, “who will find for us the primitive words for arriving stars?” and then even if we do find them, like hell yeh, the game is about to begin, “settling in” and then the opposing team scores five runs in the first and “Take away the floor.” this poem has me thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve! I have a big smile on my face reading your comment. I love how baseball made its way into this! I spent the afternoon watching the hockey team I root for lose a close one. I know what you mean about old words, I wonder the same.


  4. This is so beautiful – it reminds me of an expert I heard talking about memory and forgetting recently. He said that the creativity of writers comes from our willingness to “forget” how words and language “should” be used. And in this poem you talk about forgotten words making poetry. I love it. There’s something circular, impossible and magical about it. I feel like I have seen into a well of beauty but there’s no bucket to dip in and take it away. I just must hold onto it in my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Worms! I really like that idea of forgetting how words and language should be used. Who was the person you heard talk about this? Thank you so much for the wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s