Emma Wiebe scores high with Words

Emma Wiebe’s original poetry, Words, was awarded the highest score at this year's Festival of the Arts, speech arts section.

Emma Wiebe’s original poetry, Words, was awarded the highest score at this year’s Festival of the Arts, speech arts section.

On March 7, the Nechako Valley Festival of the Arts kicked off with speech arts and drama, with over 30 participating individuals and groups and adjudicator Christina Rodgers.


What is a Word?

Is it a sound emitted merely to be heard?

Is it a comprise of our feelings;

profound to absurd?

Words strung together —

that’s communication —

It’s the begging of creation

How we spread inspiration

The forms of thought in contemplation

And yet it is our greatest tool

in manipulation

Instrument of verbal retaliation

And deliverer of accusation

An unrestrained word can break a heart… or build a nation.

What is in its power? Without meaning a word is a sound, something simple — not renowned, and yet without words we would be communicationally bound.

We could try to point and grunt; but really if we must be blunt that might work for little things like, “me”, and “you” and to be true we might get by. But with words we hardly have to try.

The only problem is the saying is true that what is strength for me and you is probably our weakness, and sometimes it’s good to be rendered speechless.

They say talk is cheap, but that’s hardly true, because words once given can smack you right out of the blue and can hurt, a lot, and they can get you in your most vulnerable spot and the damage can be enormous when wrought on your insecurities.

Now these little guys are very strange creatures; constantly reminding us of our most unsightly features, and they are our greatest teachers that we aren’t perfect.

They make our confidence feel slightly confused; they stomp on our poise, and our moral quiet abuse. And yet their greatest fuel for a fire yet to be tamed is a word; whether it be a reproach or a name.

And yet, when you’re torn down with words; words can build you up again. And there are some hurts caused with words that only words can truly mend.

Words are fickle and can change in meaning to a definition that is less than appealing and what you end up saying is not what you meant, but something different, and by this point things are very mixed up.

But then we must ask: is it the word that has power or what we mean? An example being, I love you.

These three words have escaped many lips; on a moonlit walk or with a stolen kiss. From people who at the moment meant it. But the truth from these words can dwindle away, and what’s left of moonlit words in the light of day?

Truth and words; now there’s a tenuous combination, for words are not required for truth, and the complication is that the opposite is true.

Can truth fade away? Its absence no fault of the speakers, but merely refusal to stay, because when truth is absent we have a lie, and even when truth is partially present it’s still a far cry from being the truth.

Now words do vary especially in how they affect their hearers, if we measured word’s power in units like centimeters, their worth would constantly change.

Because for me and for you we will have a different view on the world and what makes it go ‘round, and a word — just a sound — will touch us differently.

And yet we are both human and we forget that under this illusion of just another face; we are a person. Because my life will be most important to me, what I want, and who I’m gonna be. And yet to you… you’re going to feel the same, because to you, you know that you’re more than a name.

Now names they are strange, they themselves are words, but their meanings change. When we meet you are a face, and a name, and not much more. I don’t know who you are at your very core. What you hate, what you adore, what makes you cry, and what you wish for.

But then I get to know past the name, and what I believed you to be you are not the same, because you don’t fit into the small frame I had put you into. And as my knowledge of you grows and grows, you could change your name, and to me, you would still be you, because now I know that you are more than the word that describes you.

As we speak in words; of words. We must understand, there are responsibilities on those who speak, for words do demand, that for words to have the full impact; the meaning behind them must be wholly intact.

Speaking is a commitment, and words are consistent that once released they are free, and only then can you see, what the consequences of your speaking will be. And if you make a mistake; a word once heard you cannot retake. You can bend, and mold, and try to change. But the word is free to range wherever it pleases.

I have had people tell me thoughtless words, and I know that these are more than nouns, and adverbs. And I also know I have heard words of great kindness; even thoughtful criticism giving clarity to cure my blindness.

But what I do not know is which words affect me the most, for it empowers me when people who are close say that they believe in me. But there are those to whom I am just another face, and the messages they give me can never be erased; merely deflated of power.

For there are so many words showered down on us, that we are “not enough.” And sometimes it is tough to forget these untruths.

For example there are words all around that tell me to be more physically appealing, and that without superficial beauty life will lose its meaning. And although I know these words to be a lie, they are for some reason strong, and will affect how I identify with the world, and myself. Because harmful words are not something you can take off and put up on a shelf. And that is why I laugh, when I hear of how while sticks and stone are perilous to my bones that words may never harm me.

What then is a word? A word is powerful, and of that fact we must be reminded, but to our power over it we must not be blinded.

We can tame and subdue and words will do our bidding, remaining true.

But on words we must maintain a tight grasp, and to us a conversation should not be a thoughtless task.

Words should be treated gingerly as instruments of both creation, and destruction; of indispensable importance to rejuvenation, and corruption.

What is a word?

A word is what we make it.

How it’s said.

And how it’s meant…

And how we choose to take it.