Pens and Swords

Lucille Clerc, Illustrator
Lucille Clerc, Illustrator

As proven once again this week, the sharp crack of gunfire and the rattling of sabers is no match for the sound of pencils and pens scratching ideas and ideals across parchment. Whether your power comes from word or picture, essay or cartoon, as the symbol of this week’s tributes of solidarity have shown, the pen remains, as it must, mightier than the sword.

Though I will never be asked to test the merit or strength of my character or conviction in the way that the twelve victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre were, I recognize and appreciate the symbolism of the pen.

Though from the 1990s, this poem was first published recently in Tipsy Lit, Issue 3. It seemed fitting to share at this time. This poem was written long before the current incarnation of ISIS entered our news feeds and consciousness, the title and references are to the Egyptian goddess.

To the twelve who lost their lives the other day, through conviction or circumstance, this is my pen raised.


Like Isis

I’ve got a brand
new notebook. I’ve
got a head full of
drippy neon colors and
a knapsack full of
red bic pens. I’ve

got chunky
clunky sentences in
my pocket tap dancing
with shiny
nickels. I’ve

got popcorn strings
of ideas grace
songs chorus lining
through my head. I’ve

got sky words
moon rhymes linked
into sparkle jewels
that coil around my
wrists. Like

Wonder Woman bracelets
Like Isis. I’ve

got a dash and a
pinch of a notion that
Isis really didn’t give
a toss whether Osiris
lived or died. She

had those bracelets
honey wound round
serpent slinked
gold shiny power clamped
round her wrists.
Hers. I’ve

got my red pens.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. With all the tragedies around the world I don’t know why this one has struck me so deeply. Maybe it is my love of satire, maybe it is my love of Paris, but whatever it is, I cannot understand the type of fundamentalist thinking that ends in violence. I guess that’s why I can’t live in Kansas.


    1. Dina Honour says:

      Kansas in particular, or just the idea of a more neo-conservative political base? In any event, it was shocking,perhaps more so because it was so targeted. No one should have to fear their life for expressing an opinion in pen and ink. No one should believe that they have the right to take another’s life because their ideals are not being met. It’s was a sad day all around. For freedom, for the press, for the pen.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Especially hard for me, with various French friends, both expat US and in France. It’s really frightening that a few zealots can wreak such things, and we’re virtually powerless to stop them for some period of time.


  3. Mariebel Torres says:

    You such an amazing writer. I believe for you is harder because being a writer that has a freedom of expression and thinking the atrocity in Paris,..the way things unfolds…
    So sad the way the year started having so many French friends and expats kids going to college in Paris.

    Do not let any fear come to your mind, keep writing for all of us that enjoy every word that you write, every sentence , every paragraph… just the messages that cross nationalities, religion, gender.

    Sending you light and love


    1. Dina Honour says:

      What an incredibly kind thing to say. I thank you so much. I loved seeing the people of Paris and of France come together yesterday for a march of unity. Not of protest,but of togetherness. It really touched my heart. I think as long as humanity remembers that when things get bad, then it will somehow turn out ok. Thank you again for your words. D


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