Words: Beyond and before words

by Noel Ihebuzor and Susan Daniels


before Babel
there was a word
for this me you raise

not from anything dead
but sleeping
& deep

this me that answers
& opens

every word
ever spoken
in any language

before and beyond Babel
that silent voice bubbles on
bounding and bouncing
in bundles of beautiful
babble that unbundle, bare
and bond me
with no words spoken
not needing nor heeding
any spoken word


because your silence speaks
more than all words

it undoes me

my unfurled feelings
amplifying the unspoken,
filling my being with soft echoes
of sounds stronger than words

***Another spontaneous duet this week.  I am loving this!  Noel (regular text) and I (italicized) had a conversation in poetry in my comments.  I need someone to explain to me how an American and a Nigerian can together compose something that has an almost Japanese feel to it?  Whatever the reason, I simply adore the result!  Thanks Noel–as always, a pleasure to volley lines with you!

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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43 Responses to Words: Beyond and before words

  1. Lovely! Thanks for your poem that inspired this duet!

  2. ruleofstupid says:

    Very nice, and some splendid alliteration in pt2. I’m clearly messed up, because I don’t get the Japanese flavour – but I do hear William Shatner speaking it 🙂

    • Darn it, I had a detailed comment ready to hit send & I lost it. Grrr. Thanks, glad you liked, and my duet partner is a master of alliteration. Love all those bees buzzing in there, and the word play.

      As to the comment about the Japanese feeling, perhaps it is my sense that so much more is suggested and not actually spoken, like in haiku, but it might be just me thinking that, and not really come through in the images…

  3. jeglatter says:

    🙂 your duets are yummy.:) Love it.

  4. claudia says:

    nice…always enjoying it as well when you two volley lines…smiles…loved it…esp. all the
    bubbles and bounding and bouncing in bundles…fun…ha…nice…

    • Thank you, Claudia–we have so much fun doing this, it is addictive. As for Noel & his alliteration–he spins out alliteration so masterfully and spontaneously…fun to read and I am a little jealous of that ability!

  5. boomiebol says:

    Another wonderful duet

  6. Babel made intelligible…I love this…

  7. Rhonda says:

    must be wonderful to be able to speak in poetry, one poet to another, so easily. or is it? wonderful…not easy. brings me to an old place, a place where language was spoken for it’s meaning and NOT to hear oneself speak. you two amaze and inspire, not just each other’s voices, but our hearts. wonderful S & N.

  8. Laurie Kolp says:


  9. mobius faith says:

    Another cool poem. Anything that starts with “Before Babel” is just so daggone intriguing. Things we typically don’t think about – What came before language? What came before the wheel? etc. Love it.

  10. It’s called the power of the muse, and yes the power of connectivity. It has nothing to do with location. You guys just connect so beautifully. Well done, super poets. 🙂

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