“I, who live by words, am wordless when I turn me to the Word to pray”

The Ordering of Love

It’s been a quiet week at Words on the Word. That’s okay–words are not always called for. I think I first learned about this Madeleine L’Engle poem through my boss some time ago, but can’t recall for sure now. It’s called “Word,” though she just as well could have called it “In Praise of No Words.”

“Word”

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.

I, who live by words, am wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

Madeleine L’Engle
The Ordering of Love

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