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Tom's Poetry

Christmas Haiku

Holding Back the Words

It’s a question of integrity, really
not to act
when you want to
when the need builds up to an urgency
not to say it
because it’s not quite right, not now,
and not to say anything, really

because each word builds the fence
till you find that you’re fenced in
and every word after that
only closes in tighter
you’re trapped into a destiny of doing,
of saying, of admitting

though there’s a proper time
for even this
once when I knew I couldn’t, wouldn’t act
I confessed only that I was afraid
and in that word, a trap,
a trap I laid for myself
because in response was the question ‘why?’
and caught in a corner
by my own honesty
I had to tell the truth

but now’s not such a time
while she turns colons into smiles
I must be still
and even though I trust myself
that’s not the point
it’s not a matter of how good I am
or else integrity would be only for the weak
and virtue for the bad
and words would lose their power

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(C) 10/8/94 Tom Brinck