“The Broken Poem” by John Berry

“The Broken Poem”

By John Berry

One day, before there even was such
A thing as a day, God was bored.

And because music had yet to shape
Itself in the tap tap tapping fingers of
God, God began to think of a poem.

And because there was only God
Except for a lot of silence and darkness
Which was also God, the poem went

                     There Is God

God stood back and admired the poem
And so invented admiration not to
Mention standing back from things.

And saying it to Darkness
Darkness shrugged and said


And showing it to Silence
Silence nodded
But said nothing at all.

God looked a long time at the poem
Which was way before there was
Such a thing as a long look
For a length of time

Then broke it in pieces.

God handed one of the pieces
To Darkness, saying

                     ‘HERE, YOU KEEP THIS.’

Then handed another to Silence

                     ‘THIS IS FOR YOU.’

The last word God kept for Themselves.

And God said

                     ‘NOW, THROW YOUR
                     PIECES DOWN.’

Which wasn’t a thing back then
And it was a little confusing
To Darkness and Silence, but they got
The general idea.

                     ‘THROW YOUR PIECES
                     DOWN, AND LET’S SEE
                     WHAT HAPPENS.’

                     God Is There

                     The poem read.

A small smile, which always was
Washed ashore the face of God.


God said as Silence clapped one hand
And the eyes of Darkness shined.

                     ‘LET’S GO AGAIN.’

God gathered up the pieces
Shuffled and handed them out.

                     ‘NOW, ON THE COUNT
                     OF THREE, LET’S TOSS
                     THEM AS HIGH AS WE
                     CAN! ONE ... TWO...
                     THREE ... GO!’

And the broken words fell
For about a billion years
Like leaves of future autumns.

                     There God Is

                     The words said.


Shouted God as Darkness whistled
And Silence beamed.

                     ‘LET’S GO AGAIN!’

God shuffled the words.

Now, about this time
Which wasn’t really a thing back then
Gravity came by.

Curiously dressed and smelling oddly
Of molasses, Gravity held The Black Hat
Of Future Labors in his hands and said

                     ‘Here, drop them in here
                     And I’ll shake them!’

And shook them well Gravity did
And everyone laughed when he tossed
Them out like flakes of future snows.

                     Is God There

The words blanketed their feet.

God looked puzzled.
Silence mumbled something inaudible.
Darkness looked at his hands.

Gravity fell into nervous laughter
As he was known to do, and clutching
The Black Hat of Future Labors
Quickly gathered the words
And gave them back to God.

chooka, chooka, chooka

The words whirled in God’s hands.

                     ‘COME ON, BABY!
                     MOMMA NEEDS A NEW
                      PAIR OF SHOES!’

God was not unused to games of chance.

                     ‘SEVEN COME ELEVEN
                     ALL GOD’S CHILDREN
                     GO TO HEAVEN!’

God boomed, inadvertently inventing
Thunder as Silence and Darkness and
Gravity made uneasy faces.

                     Is There God

The words clattered like bones
In a tomb.

God quickly snatched them up
And blowing into the nave of their palms
Let the pieces fall. Wind, had it been a
Thing back then, would have held its

                     God, There Is

                     The poem read.

Darkness stared. Silence raised a finger
To Gravity’s lips.

God looked pleased as though
Standing back to admire the solidity
Of wonder ~ a feather
From The Black Hat of Future Labors

Had fallen between two words

Inventing the comma.

                     ‘WELL NOW, WOULD
                     YOU LOOK AT THAT.
                     THAT’S A KEEPER!’

God chuckled, smiling at Darkness and
Silence, then setting The Black Hat of
Future Labors back on Gravity’s head

Went about making the world.

John Berry lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with his wife, Brenda, and their little dog, Molly, and is a key player in the creative community around The River House in Capon Bridge, WV. His work has appeared in publications such as The Blue Mountain Review, The Sow’s Ear Review, as well as various anthologies. His poem, “Human Beans,” won an honorable mention in the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred contest in 2021, and was published in Parabola magazine.

Facebook: facebook.com/john.berry.520125 


5 QUESTIONS: Creating the universe with God, Gravity, Darkness & friends: September 1, 2022: John Berry is not shy in taking on poetic tasks, including “The Broken Poem and Other Strange Ideas About God,” which tracks the offhand creation of the universe as God and buddies like Gravity and Darkness lend a hand.

NOTE TO READERS: Since its founding in May 2020, WestVirginiaVille.com (a project of AmpMediaProject.com), has been a free online magazine of lively, opinionated & alternative writing and imagery about West Virginia. Help us stay in the business of offering ad-free, worthy content. CLICK HERE OR THE ‘DONATE’ BUTTON TO SUPPORT THE CAUSE.


Leave a Reply