Silent Letter

It’s what you don’t hear
that says struggle
as in wrath and wrack
and wrong and wrench and wrangle.

The noiseless wriggle
of a hooked worm
might be a shiver of pleasure
not a slow writhing

on a scythe from nowhere.
So too the seeming leisure
of a girl alone in her blue
bedroom late at night

who stares at the bitten
end of her pen
and wonders how to write
so that what she writes

stays written.

–Katha Pollitt

Katha Pollitt, poet, essayist and political commentator, has published a new volume of poems, The Mind-Body Problem. I found the core claim in her poem, that many tough words start with that silent first letter, to be a provocative thought. And the voice in this poem is straight on as the mother of a daughter, which she is.

katha_pollitt

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