No Curfews on Words

by Susie Gharib (June 2020)

The Enfolding Night, Jack Butler Yeats, 1947 



When there are so many empty streets that you are loath to roam alone,
and so many populated homes whose doors are closed,
shunning friends, colleagues and dogs,
you do not need to feel empty or forlorn.
If you are afraid that your own voice will betray you
with its emotional turmoil,
then do not call.
You can write without invoking the Muse,
who is probably wearing a mask and gloves too.

There are no curfews on words.
They are immune to every type of virus and germs.
They need no armor in their combats with foes.
They defeat woes.

When you have run out of ink, use your keyboard.
Your message in an instant can navigate the world,
creating bridges, with no portcullises or moats,
between you and the human globe.
Do not let words in your brain boil,
initiating a fever that your thermometer misconstrues.
Air your views.
The coolness would seep into your nerves like a zephyr
blown form the mouth of Aeolus.

Words can placate the anger of a child
who no longer has access to his playground or favorite lawn,
a few tales from Hans Christian Andersen’s lore,
but if you would rather not quote,
write your own shorts.

With words, you can commune with saints and gods,
with spirits across the threshold,
with the Celtic twilight that Yeats extolled,
with ancestral souls,
with sons and daughters.

Write an ode to life despite its quarantined abode,
to rivers that continue to quench the thirst of trees and groves,
to flowers whose fragrance can heal old wounds,
to ripples that parley with oars and shores,
to knights whose specters still guard their heraldic codes,
to heroes who save lives without swords.

Write a ballad, a retelling of your past joys.
Celebrate your happiest moments in words.
Write a lyric for one of your adored tunes.
Sing the marriage of words and notes.
Write an elegy for the death of hope,
an epitaph without a slab of stone.
A resurrection is to bound to follow.


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Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a Ph.D. on the work of D.H. Lawrence. Her writing has appeared in multiple venues including Impspired Magazine  and The Ink Pantry.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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