July 1, 2007

Our words are weapon: This is an adage that every writer has to forge with fire, leaving an imprint right into his or her heart. It is a primal wisdom inherited from the earliest scribes, even from the most honorable of minstrels and bards. It is one thing to cast words into stone, but mouthing the language of the eternal wind is quite another. It is like co-writing the story of the universe. That is why languages, regardless of race, faithfully capture the sound of its geography, recording the memory of its culture and people. In essence, every word is simply a human attempt to encasque meaning into the limited modality of syllables and phonetics. All language therefore is poetic.

The poet then is the legislator of the human experience. He must be honorable, honest and incorruptible. He says what cannot be said and unsays what is deemed commonplace in the everyday interrogative relation between self and other, self and nature. Some say that being called to be a poet is a malady and that one must avoid it at all cost. This is not because poetry is filled with suffering, no, but because its practitioners have great and irreversible responsibility. A real poet cannot, in good conscience just stop responding to the call of the muse or be absorbed by bureaucracy and sell his or her honor and art.

When a poet becomes a liar, he/she digs his/her own grave. He/she ceases to become immortal and joins the lineage of the damned.



2 Responses to “WORD OF HONOR”

  1. Here’s to honesty in poetry OR prose. A good posting but be careful you don’t earn the tag of purist or, god help you, “elitist”. I’ve been down that road and, mate, it earns you mucho vitriol from wannabes and cranks from all sides. I detest sentimentality in any form of writing and I love this quote from Rick Moody:

    “I can’t be moved by appeals to sympathy if sympathy is my only allowable response. This is precisely how melodrama and sentimentality do their worst.”

    Let’s hear it for words that have an edge, that cut, slash, penetrate…and do irreducible harm to preconceptions and ridiculous biases!

  2. hagbayon said


    This post is about ethics. It just so happens that in our little circle of writers here in our community, somebody is going the wrong way. To the extent of trying extra-legal means to keep power to himself.

    He seems to have forgotten that being a poet means being honorable.

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