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Now I Understand Why the Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword, Why Words Are Named as Weapons.

By Carys Maloney

Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Arachne (c 1867), engraving for Dante’s Purgatory

Now I understand why the pen is mightier

Than the sword. He feared

My ink-tinged veins, the blood

I could spill with a single syllable. The tales

I could tell of Orwellian nights, of candlelight

& taking flight. The scenes

I could spin, Arachne-like,

Of perceived misgivings. He feared

The lair of my unpenetrated depths,

That which cannot be scoped:

The conjured-up lioness living there,

Chomping at the bit, hankering after

His reputation. I calmed his doubts:

I grant nothing more importance

Than it deserves; I act of my own accord.

And go about my business travelling lightly.

Now I understand why the word is named

A weapon. He feared

How I make letters curl

Under my nib, tame and purring

Submissive and instilled with

My Hera-like wrath. I calmed his doubts:

Ink is poisonous when injected, or ingested;

I told him of the truce I had made

So as not to die by my own hand.

I hold not to hatred for it stings the soul,

And makes a blunt épée of the sword

That is my attribute. I said his fear

Is unfounded: I do as I will, as I see fit.

I’ll try everything, but only once (Temperance).

And reject not a thing that experience may bring.

Black and White

Are misperceptions / of sight.

I assured him: I live to trial, I live to learn.

I put Life on a pedestal, kneeling to worship

Her daily, through starving rumination and

Regret: they shall not know my name.

And the world, not yours.

(Long ago did I learn to let go

With the outward breath)

Now I understand why the pen is mightier

Than the sword, why words are named

As weapons. Nobody wants

Their ego immortally tainted

By a post-pubescent poetess.

But disregard your fear:

I am a warrior of justice, not of vengeance.

I hold no captive lioness, I embody

No chain-bound Greek goddess. As I said:

I worship Life only, I vowed to say yes

To every experience that stitches her seams,

Without discrimination. As I implied:

I am not a slave to soured emotion,

But a master of self-observation.

I regulate every move I make,

And watch as the world

Shifts accordingly. I am only learning

As the rest of us, as the best of us.

I step back and switch my glasses.

Turn to face the future with open limbs.


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