When Words Fail

Democritus would have understood

That most of what is said

Is meaningless,


Words squandered, pebbles

Skittering over the edge

Of a jagged cliff.


They skip and plummet into the void

Chasing the edge of an

Expanding universe.


Our lives are not agonizingly static,  stationary bike

Tires ceaselessly, maddeningly, spinning

Going nowhere.


You and I are parallel lines revolving at the malleable fringe of a strange attractor,

Sometimes close and at times distant, gazing upward

At the galaxy that we will someday reach.
Man and woman, atoms and empty spaces, held rigidly apart

By electrostatic repulsion, fleshy containers,

Struggling in mud.


We should have been content in the silty water,

But gills have transformed

 Into lungs.


Gasping for fresh air we have begun our ascent.

Tiktaalik crawling upward with no desire

To return to the status quo.


It is in the silent breaths between the lines we craft,

The mysterious space where words fail,

That our deepest truths are told,



    Preformed syllables of love

That gestate in the fallow regions

                 Of the heart.

© M. G. Iannucci 2016

25 thoughts on “When Words Fail

  1. I’m reading and re-reading – there’s lots of science in this and I don’t pretend to understand all of it – but it adds a depth, another layer of meaning – and I’m curious now to find out about Democritus and elecrostatic repulsion 🙂
    First impressions – words falling into the unknown – or onto deaf ears – the difficulty we have communicating with each other, the words, no matter how well crafted, that are lost – in writing, in relationships. And the way we try to come near but never quite connect, that longing to find each other, and truth that lies in the silence and the unspoken.
    There is so much here to think on… xx Claire

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    1. Yes, lots of science! Democritus was a materialist. He believed the physical world was the only thing that existed. Much of the poem is based on Chaos Theory. Electrostatic repulsion is the fact that opposite charges rebell. That is the reason we can’t walk through walls etc. The electrons in our body and those in the wall repell each other because of their negative charges. You definitely understood the feel of the poem. Thank you for your insights…so thrilling!

      Liked by 1 person

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