Friday, September 16, 2011

The Beauty of the Word

I absolutely love this performance of spoken word poetry by Sarah Kay. I didn't post it to show you anything about poetry, but rather to demonstrate how we can influence others (their minds, their emotions) by our words-- the rhythm of them, the passion of them, the beauty of them, the ties to those words, those feelings, that they have in their own lives. We are inspired by the words of others.

As a few of you know, I sprained some ligaments in my foot at dance practice a week or so ago. Yesterday, I decided that my foot felt well enough to participate in my Irish Dance class. I was just so sick and tired of watching everyone else dance while I had to sit there like a useless mound of flesh. So yesterday, I decided it was time to dance again. I was so excited, so ready, to finally strip my foot of that horrifying orthopedic boot and put my sleek, black soft-shoes on. About ten minutes into the warm-up, I started to feel my foot tense up, like a twig stretched too far, threatening to snap. Up until now, I'd been pretty careless with my foot, not really taking the pain into account. But now, as I did jumping-jacks, I was genuinely afraid I would set my foot's recovery back even further. So I stepped out and resumed the pitiful position of "useless mound of flesh".

I was so frustrated. I tried to keep from crying, but I'm sure my face twitched at least a little. After hobbling home, I wrapped my foot in bandages and put the boot back on. I tried walking around with the crutches for a bit, but I hate those stupid crutches. When I woke up this morning, the pain was terrible. I thought about the one class I had today. There is no way I am walking across campus on this foot, I thought to myself. So as I sat on my bed, icing my foot, thinking about what I could blog about today, I thought about how words can draw people in and affix their minds, sometimes just as powerfully as drugs or hypnotism.

I'm sure the little story I just told came nowhere near to "affixing" your minds as many other things do, but I really wanted to share the performance with Sarah Kay with you. To me, what she just did was incredible. Through the words she spoke, and the way she spoke them, she was able to elevate me to a different level of feeling and thought. The power and beauty of words in absolutely amazing. We are taught from the Bible that the world was created from a word.

No, I didn't talk about the history of words or anything like that in this post, but I hope I at least vicariously conveyed the power of words to all of you.


  1. I think the power of words is really incredible. In my writing class, we read today for class the importance of oral stories and how they are important just because they are, not only for anthropological recordings, but because people's stories are an important part of our world's canon and should be told. I love the art of story-telling and folk-lore, especially in Native American culture, the beauty of the names Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and stories of the Great Spirit. Such cool stuff. :) Thanks for that.

  2. The woman's bold word usage is what really captured the emotion of that poem. She said exactly what she wanted to say without worrying about flowery language. A lot of times we underestimate the emotion that comes from speaking exactly whats on our minds.

    Another aspect I'd like to draw attention to is the fact that she memorized the poem. A certain power comes out of performances that are memorized and done from the heart. I know understand why those Bards were so dedicated to the art of memorization.

  3. The topic of the power of words is great, and I appreciate Rachel and Andrew continuing in that direction. How the story about injuring yourself related to this topic or the learning outcomes isn't evident to me.