“If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken world, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.”
–T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday, V

I’ve shared this passage of poetry before on this blog, but here I am at the end of my first week of the Word-Wonder series — the end of the “Words” week — and somehow, I feel that my words all have been spent for the week, that, if there were other words, they are lost.

I wonder how it is that, with whole dictionaries at our disposal, we ever run out of words. Though I cannot explain it, I have certain knowledge that it happens, that sometimes I arrive at the ends of my days feeling like a sponge from which the last drops have been wrung until there is nothing left.

I don’t pretend to know what Eliot meant to say in the above passage, but I do know that he sets up a contrast: on the one hand, the lost, spent words; on the other, the cacophony of the unstilled, still-whirling world; between them, the silent Word.

That image comforts me. Amidst that unstilled whirling which so often seems to leave me wordless, I am comforted when I remember that it doesn’t depend on my words, in any case. The Word abides, quite still, in spite of all, notwithstanding my eloquence or in-eloquence.

Indeed, this Christ — the Word — my Savior, abides for all my short-fallings. From words lost, to fruit eaten, to even the idea that I could have enough, be enough, say enough, on my own. He is my enough. He speaks for me.

Were I to lose all my words, all my dictionaries, so long as this one Word is mine, I lack nothing.


©2013 by Stacy Nott

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