necessary whispers

observe. connect. make new.


January 2016

Spoken Word: Hope Is a Bird


Emily Dickinson says, “Hope is the thing that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”


If hope were so constant why does it often feel so elusive?

If hope were so constant why must it be

Fragile, like a bird?

Why must it molt and

Give away its feathers to the changing of seasons,

To the pains of growth,

To the tides of purpose and




Why must Hope be so near and feel so far

Like a jar

Holding gold that sits tightly closed

While my failing muscles

Drip like gas from a leaking tank

On the ground?

A car without gas has no purpose.





Does anyone else wonder about their purpose?

Does anyone else feel like a drifter,

A tumbleweed

Blowing quickly with the direction of the wind,

Sometimes far out to the east and


In a circle,

Round and round in a dizzying dance of looking toward

But not seeing

And running and

Gasping and

Stopping and

Breathing hard

Heavy like a prisoner broken out of jail

Without a crime but only time—

How have I spent it?

Where am I going?

Why am I here?





There is a definition of hope that fails.

It flails in the wind

Blown through a flame on top of a candle and then


In the smoke.

This pointless hope is a wish.

Only a wish

Wandering while I

Wonder what to grab on to.

What to hold.

How to mold my lips into a circle meant to whisper into the smoky darkness,

“What next?”

This definition of hope is a lingering mess,

Like the pile left

After the raccoons have eaten what is left

And the opossums have rolled their wiggly bodies through the smell left behind by the

Spoils of the theft.



Hope is just a wish,

A dream,

A word some say but Emily Dickinson says,

“A word that is spoken begins to live that day”

And hope is eternal so it isn’t right,

This definition.



What does God say?



It’s unpopular,

A menace to society that stalks the hearts of men

Wherever they go,

Never knowing—these words, this God, and

That man

Cloistered in the shadows of Sunday.




Day light,

Day time,

Time to find,

Remember the anchor.

The pavement below our feet,

The dirt below the street,

The mud, the dust, the worms,

The bugs all the way to the center,

The heartbeat,

The core.

There is hope that erupts like a volcano from which we run,

We are stunned and

Stop and

Look back and see the blaze and count our days and wonder,

“What have I done?”

What am I doing to light a fire under my own purpose?




My flame is nothing without His breath.

His volcano breathes like a dragon from the depths of victory.

He was

And is

And is to come.

To go

To look to the left and to the right is a fight with no victor.

The victor is a head nod up,

A hand flying toward the sky,

A knee bent

A heart rendered useless without Him who

Lifts your head,

Who brings life to the dead.



He did not come to make bad men good

He came to make dead men live,

So live.

And live,

Like a thing that flies, that never dies

That soars like a bird

A bird that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and

Never stops

Never stops

Never stops

At all.

copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: German painter Heiko Müller’s painting, Biofeld.


Moonlight We


The sun grows hours

Then burns them dry



Blow by the days

And we

The cattle drivers

Saddle the minutes

And ride them,

Guide them from atop

Their prickly backs.



The Sunlight We

Strap on our shoes

Tattered at the soles

To tread

A line

Publicly defined by

The rules of


And who the other

We’s expect us all

To be.



Astride atop

Rolling ticks and tocks

And traveling

Through noon time

Crowds of We

Is She—

An explorer whose eyes

Are lifted

Toward the sky

Inside a sea of eyes

Seeing same.



The busy pavement

Vibrates with progress

As defined

By hand held devices

That shine

In daytime rays

And ricochet


The gaze

Of the masked We

Stumbling at a gallop’s pace.



But she—

She sees.



She sees what is real

In the moment defined

Not confined by

What she should

Why she ought or


Why she would

She rides the time

And feels the warmth

Of the sun instead of

Using it for light.



Reflection of the sun can be seen everywhere.



Embracing now

A give and take

Of new and ideas

And what does it mean

She offers herself

To the questions

That rise

Dwells in the


Of wandering




And he—

He sees.



Along the trail

Sprawling on every side

Is one—

A He—

Who rides his own

Tumbleweed time

Carrying boredom

Wrapped in


Searching for what

Is relevant.



His eyes wide open

Heart behind a shield

He journeys

With a purpose

Gone cold

Like a campfire


He rubs his hands together

Above reasons

That fail

To keep him warm.



Until the moment

Just one moment


Amidst a thousand eyes



The only she

In a sea of


Whose awareness

Pierces the shield of his own.



No words exchanged—

Not yet—

But the moment is frozen still

The sun holds its place

And reveals

Details of her face

As though

The opulent

Fiery star above

Is painting

Something new.




Says she and


Says he and the sea of

We begins to roar

Once again.

He asks,

“Can you travel

This way?

If only




He smiles—

Not only his lips

But eyes brightly

Joining as

His hands begin to warm.

She accepts

His invitation,

“I will come

Your way

Let’s not delay

The sun will set into night.”



Two journeys become

One moonlight We

As the day stumbles

Behind the moon—

The moon that stops

The growth of time

Replacing stars

For minutes

And silence for sound

When all around


Into a single


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: Heiko Müller‘s painting, Antares.

Monument To The Dead


(Photo credit: This story was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller’s painting, Sun In The Park.


Monuments to the dead

Are erected for


Open to the souls

Of those who

Wish to remember

Those who have

Lived and died and

Continue to live.


Stone, brick or cement

Though they be

And empty

They remain

But for the meaning

Thus imbued by


Of those who live and

Continue to live.


The moment each shrine

Is complete

A silent door is hinged


Transfer from beyond

To now

Dwells in possibility

And the honored ghost

Continues to live.


Once, three figures born

Of one mother the same

In the identical hour

Released from a

A fragile frame

Walked the earth


Until the day two

Continued to live.


Snow filled the sky

It flew and then danced


Muffled were the sounds

Of voices and steps

Covered was the ground

Invisible were

The dirt and lake to those who

Continued to live.


Three walked together

And then there were two

Four feet tread trails

Already trodden

And two feet

Fell through

Ice that was cold

But thin to the touch of those who

Continued to live.


The third of three

Kicked and thrashed

Her icey eyes looked

For the hole

The whole of her

Goal was to find the shaft

Of light defining

Entrance to the world of those who

Continue to live.


The two above and

The one below

Extended their hands

Reaching for connection

Hoping for protection

Fighting for collection

Until silence filled the

Place below the feet of those who

Continued to live.


The snow fell with fury

Painting the place

With a peaceful scene



With serenity and

Swallowing the

Evidence of she who could not

Continue to live.


The two left behind

Erected a shrine

Of flakes that dropped down

And those on the ground

With frost-bitten hands

Stiffened by tears

Fallen and petrified

From the eyes of those who

Continue to live.


Inside the creation

Devised of snow

When final touches of

Eyes and nose

Were placed in honor

Of she who was gone

A door was hinged

Between the dead and those who

Continue to live.


When two journey into the woods

To embrace the one who fell

She opens the door

Through the visage of snow

And enters the world

Once more

Invisible to most

But fully present with the two who

Continue to live.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson






Givers and Takers


“Do not ask me when I came

To this place,”

Said the woman with no face.

“I was sent here,

I had no choice but to



to glide

and still I descend.”


Tucked within the folds

Of society there are

Givers and Takers


In creases too deep

To iron straight

The fabric is

No bigger

Nor is it new

Than the day the

First snow fell

When the earth was a child,

Cooing into the




“I gave him my money,”

She said as she pressed

Her handkerchief

To her lips.

“His chest puffed out


and his fists

were in charge

of my perception

of who he was.”


They took what they wanted

These gave what they could

When the giving was


These too

Followed the way

Of no more.


“We gave him

our trust

wrapped in small hands

and hugs


meant to squeeze

the dark from his heart.”

Said she. And he,

“I wanted his insides

to fall

on the floor

and to mend the tears

that were

bleeding him dry.”


The little ones

Wrapped up their hope

Attached it to a rope

And threw it over the side

They watched

As the ocean

Of their innocence

Sucked it away

But they could not


And were dropped

Into the fray.


“He took my heart,


I offered it first

in the palm of my hand

in the center of my glove,”

Her words are

Heard through

Lips of wood

Dried up

From kissing


Who sucked the

Softness from her


“I stood in the shadows

and lifted him high

like a marionette

hanging from the sky

above his frame

until the day

he bundled his life

and tiptoed away

and I like a cat


a stray.”


Each Giver

Cascading down

With souls like


Beautiful and

Giving life

To the bodies above

And will again

To the bodies below

Upon their arrival.


The Takers

Whose hands press

Hard against the Givers’ backs

Are milling about at the top

Of the hill

Wallowing about and

Will be there still

Taking and taking and


Until . . .


“We journey with

hearts that are heavy,

it’s true,

but we do not regret

the debt we’ve accrued.

To give

is to abundantly live

and the magic of


is to be filled


with all that we have

given away.”


If you wander through

An open place and

Hear behind you

The gliding of

The Givers

Stop and

Turn around and

Bear witness

To their



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson


(Photo credit: German painter Heiko Müller’s piece, Snow Daze. )


A Poem: The Vessel



His hand was only a hand

With veins that rose and fell

Like gently rolling waves

A dip and a swell

Giving life to all within

Beneath the water and his skin.


His brush was only a brush

With bristles short and soft

Like freshly growing grass

Subject to the windy wafts

Of springtime growing new

Filling in the lines he drew.


His eye was only an eye

With so much more behind

Like the shade of green

That bends and winds

Beneath the skin inside her wrist

Deeper still before a kiss.


His art was only art

With confines of space and wood

Like the forest she explored

In the freedom of childhood

Filled with shadows and light

An expanse of elation and fright.



copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

Photo Credit: Elspeth Diederix


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