If there were words that shattered locks and chains
or penetrated any earthly gloom,
the poets and the scientists would vie
to isolate them in a petri dish,
or press them in a new anthology.
If there were words that killed bacteria
or rendered every vicious growth benign,
Poetry and science would combine
that much more quickly, and to antiquate
both surgery and rosy platitudes.
If words were seeds robust enough to grow
on any field, in any earthly clime -
if they were sown wherever hunger lived,
in time to fill each empty belly, we
would scorn to ask the planter's pedigree.
Words educate the body, mind, and soul
completely, but in subtle fits and starts.
Words will root out remedies enough
to vanquish misery, and forestall death -
or help us to wrest victories from both.