Spoken Word (Psst! You Can Listen or Read)

Feeling risky, I decided to get my Grade 8 writing class to write spoken word poetry, except I barely knew how to describe spoken word poetry. I played various samples for them and recited one of my own. I asked a couple friends who were familiar with spoken word poetry, and they gave me a succinct, logical definition. It’s “poetry that’s meant to be spoken.” I would now add that it’s meant to be spoken because it depends on sound to emphasize ideas.

Then, I decided to write another spoken word poem for my students, just to prove that one can sit down and plan to write one and come up with something half good. The resulting poem is both simple and profound. Like many things I write, it has come back to convict me. (If you don’t want to be held accountable for what you say, don’t say it.)

In the spirit of spoken word poetry, I’ve recorded myself reading it. I’ve no fancy mic or recording studio, but hopefully it speaks to you all the same. (Sorry for the very lame pun.) I’m also including it typed below for those who’d rather read it.

The Spoken Word

The spoken word

Has always been sanctified here, since

The Creator God spoke

This place into existence;

And careless, we throw words around

Like worthless fruit stems,

Forgetting they have the power

To give life

And take life

To give being

And take it away again.

“I have an idea,” we say,

And stumbling and stammering

More excited then eloquent

We begin to frame the genesis

Of a movement, a business,

A creative work of art.

Other voices

Other words

Come back at us,

“That’s crazy.”

“That’s a strange idea.”

“That will never work.”

Any one of these common phrases is enough

To starve a fledgling idea

Of its very life.

Words take life

Can take it before it even

Is born into the world,

And at times,

It would seem

That the safest way

Is silence.

But silence kills, too.

When we witness a bully

On the playground,

Or in the pew,

Or in parliament

And turn away,

Shrugging off


Like an unneeded jacket,

When we turn away

And say nothing,

Our silence

Is a consent to the injustice.

Our silence

Says we support the injustice.

And silence

Has been the undoing of many a person.

We humans look to others

For commendation

For affirmation

For the words “I love you,”

And if they never come,

Then we hear

In the silence,

“You are not good enough

“You are not worthy

“You are not loved.”

And with no other words

We are left

To fend off these lies


No wonder

The silence drains our life away

The lonely, lonely silence.

But we are not alone.

The Word


Before the world.

The Word

Spoke the world into existence.

The Word

Became flesh and dwelt among us.

And He spoke

To defend the undefended.

“He that is without sin

Let him cast the first stone.”

He spoke

To affirm.

“What she has done here today

Will be spoken of in generations to come.”

He spoke

To bring life.

“Lazarus come forth.”

He spoke

To bring forgiveness.

“Father, forgive them

For they know not what they do.”

But The Word was also silent,

Taking the whipping

Like a slave

Taking the judgement

In our place

Taking the death

So He, The Lamb of God

Could say,

“It is finished.”

The Word

Knew the power of words.

He heard the denial of Peter

“I do not know this man,”

Not once,

Not twice,


Three times.

He also asked

“Peter, do you love me?”

Not once,

Not twice,


Three times.

The Word knows

The spoken word

Has the power of redemption.

Our words

Spoken words have the power of redemption,

When cleansed by His blood,

This once bleeding,

Now living, breathing

Word of God.

17 Comments on “Spoken Word (Psst! You Can Listen or Read)

  1. Pingback: The Spoken Word – Holly Dickson-Ramos

  2. Pingback: The Spoken Word – Holly Dickson-Ramos

  3. Thank you for this gorgeous poem.
    I have been struggling with my words and now I can have fresh courage to go on. And not only go on, but keep going.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Yolanda. The words and the silence…I have been trying to find my way among them. I love, love, love, how you remind us that even when it might seem there are no other words that amount to much, there is always The Word.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yolanda, this is so moving. Your wise words are comforting and hard, inspiring hope and regret. Thank you for using the gift God has given you, and pouring it out for us. It’s not a waste. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this! And yes, words (and silence) are so powerful! It’s been a repeated topic throughout my life, and honestly, I needed the reminder again. Words can bring life or death–and I don’t want to bring death. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, I loved this. I listened to the spoken words as I scrolled through the written words and it was beautiful and piercing at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

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