Word Poetry




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Sample Poems by Lynn Houston


How could a hunk
of matter arrange the pattern
of ink on this page?
A star of David, smiley face, and Mercedes-Benz
flip positions for your convenience.
A primitive kind of reasoning:
Gadget and page are just a bunch of ink marks.
Creeping neurons represent the individual:
Socrates, Aristotle, Rod Stewart-
the whole thing
could be done
in silicon chips.

Writing is the Real Engine

Reading these words, you are taking part
in the wonders of the natural world.
For you and I can shape events
in each other's brains
with exquisite precision.
Naturally, we forget
what a miracle it is.

Surrender your imagination to words:
when a male octopus spots a female
his grayish body becomes striped.
He swims above and begins caressing her
with seven of his arms. Cherries jubilee.

You now share secrets-
some stranger's imagination
bridging gaps of time, space,
and acquaintanceship.

Language Lite

I have never met a person
not interested in language.
Try to satisfy that curiosity, lover.
Submit a secret to the world: signing
chimps, idiot savants, feral
children, twins separated at birth.
Unaware, the burdened intellectual
dislikes blind men and airy platitudes.

The Search for the Mother of All Languages

The plural bubbles up unscathed:
swarms and herds, a flock of geese,
the cottages at mountain feet,
maple leaves, a mass of foliage.
We can make amends
but never just one amend,
ponder every claw
that made a mark.

Origin: The Forests and Gods We've Left Behind

A solitary human, an impressive Robinson Crusoe, is captured,
came so close to reaching God. As a result, far-reaching changes
on the planet. The bones of ten thousand wild horses

will exchange words. When there is no one to talk with,
people talk to themselves, their dogs, even their plants.
Spellbinding, silver-tongued seducer wins an event

separating him from other animals, the decline.
Some migratory birds navigate thousands of miles
by calibrating the positions of constellations.

In nature's talent show, we are primates with a knack
for communicating information about who did what to whom-
the sounds we make when we exhale.