Words and Silence

I, who live by words, am
   wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All
   language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words
   and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stifled voice
To hold its peace, to listen with the
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn
In the strange patterned time of
That, in time, breaks time, breaks
   words, breaks me,
And then, in silence leaves me
   healed and mended.
I leave returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all
   words are ended,
I, who live by words, am
   wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray.

-Madeleine L' Engle
Lines Scribbled on an Envelope While Riding the 104 Bus
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