This poem by the Revd Andy Edmeads, Anglican priest and hospice chaplain, appears in Chaplaincy in Hospice and Palliative Care (ed Murphy and Whorton) and is used with the author’s permission.


Twenty six letters in the alphabet
Mixed together to make up words
which explain everything
So why is it so hard to find the right words?
This poem is a contradiction
Words trying to express the inexpressible
Words count for so little
In the face of this enormity
This full stop marking the end of a sentence
Which is life
Words dry up and leaving them behind
Another language is rediscovered
The forgotten language of tears, a smile,
Touch – a hand
On the shoulder, a hug, perhaps even silence
If I dare
No more words.
What is needed now is that
The Words become flesh.
And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us