Words that Failed Me


Though I never do.

Though I never do.

Words that Failed Me

The only words that ever failed me
were those I uttered,
voiced, when even the scrape
of toast buttered
was the better choice, more

For those who need badly
to be heard
need extra space
for their words to move around in,
like someone learning to park
not used to a rear-view
like someone learning to dance
afraid to take chances,
like someone who’s been told
what to do too long,
for whom listening
is a tired song–

The words that failed me–
the ones I crowded into
the distance between us–
oh, what a fuss
they made–


I know I call them all drafts, but generally–as in the case of my last few posts–I know I should cut cut cut! However,  when you/me first write something, it’s a bit hard to cut as much as you should.  In this case, which I’m calling a draft poem, I don’t know that I’d cut but have come back since posting to change some words.  

It’s for Brian Miller’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub prompt about when words fail you. Frankly, I believe the English language is pretty comprehensive, and really when words fail me, it is my (i) lack of good vocabulary; (ii) failure of nerve, or (iiI) as described here, talking too much.

Explore posts in the same categories: poetry

Tags: , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

28 Comments on “Words that Failed Me”

  1. brian miller Says:

    smiles…ok, i agree with you…our failure of nerve to use them…or letting them gush out of us like a stampede when perhaps we could gain all the more from listening just a bit…

  2. Oh the words that get in between us–or don’t—I know you might want to cut, but I kinda like the length

  3. Starralee Says:

    This is wonderful–a fine reminder for me, as it seems duct tape is the only way to keep me safe from talking.

  4. Sherry Marr Says:

    “…when even the scrape of toast, buttered, was more meaningful….” I dont see an unnecessary word here. Loved it.

  5. Yes I understand the words that crowded into the space and what a fuss, I get that one, when one doesn’t want to hear the other…well written indeed.

  6. CC Champagne Says:

    I don’t know why you’d want to cut in this… It feels like a stream of thought that’s settled on the page and said what you wanted it to, unedited. Words are like that, and sometimes they’re just beautiful the way they are!

  7. I really like the trueness and honesty-feel of the poem. It makes me think of the many times I should have chosen silence over listening to my own words been said at someone else. Great poem! //do not cut too much… smiles

  8. claudia Says:

    usually i’m more a listener than a talker – so i don’t find it too hard to fall silent – but sometimes it’s better to talk – even with loads of words…smiles

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    I don’t see any superfluous words here, k. The writing is direct and effective, without any frills except a very alive and simple imagery that gets every point across without the unnecessary verbiage the poem laments. I too have often felt that so many things I’ve said were much better left unsaid, that they were the proverbial bricks in the wall, instead of the bridge they needed to be, because I stood in the middle of the path, throwing them out like confetti to make my own parade more festive and important. A fine poem.

  10. Susan Says:

    I post draft poems too. I like posting drafts and looking at them “in print” again and again before revising for “print.” Of course, I don’t keep them posted very long.

    I love how your form and content here reinforce each other in “Words That Failed Me.” After the intro, that middle stanza is/was the words crowded in, and the final one finds amusement in the last devastating failure. Great poem.

  11. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    What you pose here is quite profound actually, that for some of us verbose gregarious types it is not the words that fail us, it is us that fail the words through misunderstood intonations, stresses, volume, intent; an imaginative twist on the prompt.

  12. First .. Cutting or not cutting is matter of preference.. I like to sometimes condense to a minimum – sometimes let it grow and become longer..

    I think that courage has a lot to do what’s said or not… And yes that’s why we loose our words.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Of course, I am only speaking for myself re cutting. The delight of making something new sometimes affects my judgement in terms of what should be there! I don’t mean to comment on other writers. k.

  13. Raivenne Says:

    Excellent write K. All the words we crowd in because we feel we must be heard, when sometimes the silence would say it best. Alas, I know this conflict well. I am verbose, I admit it. My editing scissors are so out of use they need some Rust-X and WD-40 first.But I am learning to appreciate the value of properly used silence and have at least picked the scissors off the floor. We may not always know when it’s just right, but we feel it in our bones when it’s just wrong. (Like the five extra sentences in this comment you’ll never read because I knew it was better to just hacked them out. * smiles *

  14. Akila Says:

    i like that scribbling and well the verses that echoes it. true!

  15. How clever this is! ‘ Words fail me’ usually is taken to be that we can’t find the words to describe our feelings. If I am reading this correctly, it is the words we should not have uttered that are the failure. I never know when to shut up, so my words frequently get me into trouble!

  16. kathy reed Says:

    Also called “putting one’s foot in one’s mouth”…something I do frequently, yet unintentionally. This poem is not too wordy.

  17. Abhra Says:

    “The only words that ever failed me
    were those I uttered,

    Interesting thought – I feel the same way too in some occasions.

  18. Bryan Ens Says:

    Talking too much is definitely a way to make words fail

  19. C.C. Says:

    I love the idea of the words making a fuss after being crowded in to the distance between two people. Such rich imagery in the way your words create descriptions, depict scenes. I completely enjoyed this.

  20. shanyns Says:

    LOVE that line about the space needed for the words of those who need to be heard. What a GREAT image!

I'd love to hear from you!

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: