A Diagrammed Life



If you were
to diagram your life
as if it were a sentence
nouns verbs adjectives adverbs
and here or there a preposition
words school`learned
words just invented
Who’d you be?

You would say
I’m more than what
I can say in a few words
Yet it is by our words we prove
ourselves to be bent or straight
to be honorable keepers
of truth or brokers
of treachery

We become
what we dare speak
sure as fruit from blossom
will grow to be fair foul or sweet
the which will not be known till
picked at autumn’s harvest
when foul lie fallen
fair come home

“I’m a firm believer that language and how we use language
determines how we act, and how we act then determines
our lives and other people’s lives.”

~Ntozake Shange


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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4 Responses to A Diagrammed Life

  1. gorgeous poem – yet the cynic in me is whispering “ignore the lips, watch the hands”


  2. Shange would approve of this interpretation! A thinker, this is, Peter!!


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