Poem A Day: How Many Words

How many words have I written

In the 17,521 days of my life?

Half-finished novels

Poems shared and forgotten

Almost-completed screenplays

Unrevised short stories

Blog entries

Facebook updates and comments

Text messages and IMs

School essays and research papers

Comments on student papers

Notes passed back and forth in class

Handwritten love letters

Grocery lists and to-do lists

Rambling rants in journals

Reviews and requests and remembrances


How many? How many words?


And how many words have I spoken

In the 17,521 days of my life?


From goo goo and mama and papa

To complaints about an apathetic universe

Inspirational speeches

Nursery rhymes and songs

Didactic pedantic lectures

Oral reports and presentations

Poetry slams and read-alouds

Words of encouragement and support

I love you’s and I’m sorry’s

Late-night long-distance telephone calls

Pizza orders and doctor appointments

Prayers appealing to God

Philosophical discussions on the nature of reality

Stories and lies and dirty jokes


How many? How many words?


But how many words rest unspoken,

Unwritten, in however many days I have left?

When I die, what will I have not said

And to whom should I have said it?

How many songs and speeches cower

In the cobwebs of my mind, refusing

To let themselves be exposed to the world?

How many thoughts die each day, unformulated?

How many wishes might come true

If I just knew the words with which to speak them?


How many? How many words?



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