Dried Lips

by Ken Harnisch

Dried up, the lips take on a withered cast;

Not just wrinkled, but like dead things

Clinging to the face of the unhappy man.

Warts to be excised at some future time

When he visits the medicine man who will

Prescribe a salve for the grievous wounds

That mar the skin, but none for those that

Scar the heart.


Oh how happy we are in our loneliness!

How used to it all we get, when we have

No arms to cling to, no ears to listen to our

Voice, which we self-declaim as not worth

Hearing anyway. And yetÂ… what light it is

That breaks on us when one face smiles

At seeing ours; one voice finds its lilt

At hearing ours; one pair of eyes dances

When it strikes that sweet accord with ours


I grieve the withering of lips not placed

Upon yours with any regularity.

I mourn the embraces not given in the  

Dawning sun, or in the blue light

Of the shimmering moon. Most of all,

I miss you, who would row

The little boat with me

That took our wounded spirits home.


Posted on 06/02/2003
Copyright © 2021 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Amy Niggel on 06/06/03 at 01:54 PM

beautiful poem ken. The imagery is amazing as usual. Great Job!

Posted by Maureen Glaude on 12/31/03 at 04:28 PM

I think someone thought my current Mid-Winter Tips was so like your poem here, or a response, but the tone's very different and it's just a coincidence I guess. Mine's an old one, from poesie days. Happy New Year. I like yours, really gets to the heart of the solitude, though sad, a kind of epiphany

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 06/01/04 at 01:00 PM

Fascinating analogy of lost love Ken. Worthy appearance on the Weekly Favorites.

Posted by Kate Demeree on 02/23/05 at 02:48 AM

I can see that the first time I read this.. I rated it and never commented. *smiling*.... tonight I revisited some of my favorites here... and I could not pass this without saying ... it has a bittersweet beauty that remains... timeless

Posted by Kate Demeree on 04/20/07 at 04:17 AM

I was here.... again. This one is going into my favorites list.

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