by thereluctantpoet

By Charles Robert Lindholm

Is it a question?

is it an exclamation

or just an enigma

Is it wistful



or regretful

and melancholy


Is it ambiguous


Is it open ended

with a potential

and a future

Or is it closure

an ending

with regrets

or just

a wistful longing?


Perhaps . . .

Copyright © 2017 Charles Robert Lindholm – All Rights Reserved

A reflection on the post “The Shortest Poem or Flash Fiction Ever – Well, Maybe

Simple is usually better, clearer and easier to understand, but not always.  Sometimes a word is ambiguous.  It’s open ended, vague and cloaked in mystery.  Sometimes it’s unintentional, an accident.  Sometimes it is meant to be evasive and used to be deceptive or expansive.

Whether intentional or accidental a word or a phrase can be a Chameleon that is changeable depending on its surrounding context (like those who turn wherever the wind blows).

So, is the glass half full or half empty?  Well, it depends.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  How do you perceive things?  Maybe you are a bold problem solver who can end the discussion by drinking the wine and reach a definitive conclusion that the glass is empty.

Maybe a word or a phrase just carries a hidden double meaning that requires perspective to fully understand?  This was the problem with the “Three Blind Men Trying To Describe An Elephant” who each understood a partial truth but did not reach a full and complete understanding.

What is water?  Sounds like a silly question doesn’t it?  It’s something you drink, isn’t it?  Well, yes, but?  What is the real question?  Do you mean what is water made of?  H20.  How would you describe water?  There may be one really right and scientific way to answer but would it be wrong to say that water is  gaseous or maybe a solid or no, it’s a liquid depending on what environment a set quantity of H20 is exposed to.

“Mean what you say and say what you mean” sounds good but sometimes words can be slippery.  Most men know this instinctively when they hear, “Honey, can you take out the trash?”  Of course, we answer, “Sure”.  Half an hour later when we are still in our chair watching the game and we hear the complaint, “You said, you were going to take the trash out, so how come it’s still here!!  Why can’t you do what you say you are going to do?” we become expert linguists and explain (instead of getting up and emptying the trash) “I told you I would take out the trash and I will, honest!  I just didn’t say, when!!  I will get it later”.

We think we are so clever!  Surprise!  That’s not all we get – way, way later (another ambiguous word – not for a few days or a week, maybe more?).  That’s when we discover that Our Honey can also be an expert linguist when she decides to teach us just how long later can be!  Her answer is, “Honey, I said I would.  I just didn’t say – When”.

A picture may be worth a thousand words but words or “a word” can describe in a precise and exquisite, excruciating or erotic way what a picture never can.  The realm of words is wider, deeper and more intense than a picture can usually convey.  Words can be ambiguous so if you see a photo of a couple longingly looking at each other while holding hands over wine or dancing cheek to cheek most times we can use our imagination but often times words will tell us so much more about the back story, the emotions, the intentions and of course the outcome!!  Sometimes we just like to know the answers to our questions – for sure.  No if’s, and’s or maybe’s.

There are times when we absolutely, positively want a definite, iron clad assurance in what a word means.  Like when you are getting tired of waiting to find out just how long “Later” can be and you ask, in a very plaintive way, “Honey, tonight?” and you hear an answer that has too much laughter in it’s tone, but not for you – “Perhaps . . .”

We men should really try and learn not to try and be so “Clever”.


  1. I’m all for ‘simple’ and use it wherever possible in my work. Something the late Steve Jobs once said has become something of a mantra for me – “Simple is a lot harder than complex; you have to work really hard to get it right. But when you do, you can move mountains’

  2. Hi Jem, Love your work! Thanks for your wonderful comment! I love that quote! I will have to start trying to do that!!!
    I must tell you that this quote has really just struck me!!

    I keep a Word Bank (a deposit of words/phrase or ideas that I may end up using as seeds of inspiration for a poem of mine) and I have now opened an account for you in it. I just now deposited the quote you shared with me in your account and as I was entering the details on your ledger that quote just hit me between the eyes and I actually got a short but nice piece from it. I am hoping to post it in the very near future. I must congratulate you on having the absolute fastest dividend payout yet! I didn’t even get the details in before there was a deposit of Gold Stars for you. Bravo, my friend!!

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