One Without Words

One Without Words, a Poem by Obert Mandimutsira

Obert POEM

She was not given to say many words, if at all,

Intense though she was in thought and behaviour.

On the surface, she seemed to despise and mistrust words,

Preferring rather to express herself wholly as one.

Whether in the know or outside the know,

Her standard reaction and response, found instinctive

expression in diverse forms of communication.

Her relationship to the spoken word

was and remains a mystery for ages past and now.


A plethora of high sounding opinionated experts,

Trumpeting unsolicited answers to this phenomena,

Usurped the stage like charismatic pastors on a crusade.

To buttress their view about her dearth of word craft,

Some pointed to the absence of parents, a startling discovery!

Religiously advancing it as the reason for her stunted word ability.

Those who had read big books on these matters,

Proffered convoluted hypotheses of massive childhood traumas,

Resulting in self defence mechanisms, to shield herself from pain.

She absorbed these lofty insightful views with underwhelming candour.


Away from the madding band of experts of every hue,

Her everyday peers seemed to accept her uneasy

relationship to words, without question or censure.

With that she was comfortable and contented.

She was not against social intercourse at all,

Of this her friends were unequivocal in her defence.

But for her, words were not the fuel for sustaining relationships.

But nowhere was one such loyal and committed friend to be found.


Her grandmother, the only mother figure she knew.

Celebrated her gift of word paucity, knowing quietly that,

as miserly as she was with the art of conversation,

She was exuberant in expressing herself in dance and movement.

The slightest provocation to dance was all she needed

to explode, with breath-taking body movements that defied genre.

Transporting and transfiguring her tortured humanity,

to an ephemeral state only she seemed to inhabit in that moment.

Where the essence of life morphed in beautiful body contortions,

Connecting with the deep of the soul, the centre of her existence.

Communicating meaning inaccessible to all, but one without words.

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