12 January 2013

Words - a poem

Here's a poem by Phil Groom, it's called 'Words'. He wrote it in 2009 but it was especially appropriate in an online discussion a few days ago. 'Words' is eloquent about the damage that words can do when they're used as weapons.

A brick and broken glass
This is a poem written by Phil Groom in 2009.

Just a few days ago he dropped it into a debate that had turned a bit nasty. It didn't seem to register in the debate but I read it and thought how appropriate is was, and what a wonderful bit of creative poetry it is.

It speaks of the damage words can do, and how they come back to haunt us.

We can put words out there by what we say and what we write, but we can never take them back once they've been heard or read.

Jesus made this point when he told the Pharisees that it's not what goes into a person that makes them unclean, but what comes out. The Jews had strict food laws, but it's not wrong food that defiles us, it's wrong words (Matthew 15:11).

Phil graciously said I might reproduce his poem here. But you can also to see it in it's original context on Phil's boring blog (which is not boring at all).


I threw a brick
through a window last night.
The brick just laughed
while the window cried -
bits of broken glass lying bleeding on the floor,
no one picked them up:
no one knew what they were for.

Throwing bricks
through the windows
of other people’s lives
leaving jagged edges jutting
out at us like sharpened knives:
we think we are so clever
with the careful words we choose
and we feel so much better
when they leave a nasty bruise.

Words are free —
but we’ll pay the price,
Words are weapons —
but we’d best think twice
before we draw them
to join in the fight —
will we speak in love
or will we speak in spite?

Did no one ever tell you
that a word is like a sword?
Good for slashing,
good for stabbing,
and it brings its own reward
as the blood flows freely down the polished blade
to leave your best friend reeling with the mess you’ve made…

Words are like a rainbow,
dancing in the sky,
filled with golden promises
that hide behind a lie:
for when the storm is over
the rainbow can’t be found
and the pot of gold
it promised you
is gone,
without a sound.

They can pick you up
or they can knock you down,
they can creep like mice
or they can dance like clowns,
tumbling like an avalanche
to bury me alive,
whirling like a boomerang,
there’s nowhere left to hide,
coming back to haunt me:
like a brick between the eyes.


  • How often have you said something in haste and later wished you hadn't?
  • Can you think of times when words ('mere' words) have deeply hurt you?
  • Have you forgiven the people who spoke those words?
  • Do you stop to think before speaking?

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