A Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words

But we know there’s always something missing

The face on the photo is never to be heard

And the rest of us are left guessing


A girl whose best friend just moved away

Sitting on the porch, longing to stray

Head in her hands and pigtails drooping

Looking drab on the stairs, in need of recouping


A boy with a smile on his face and ice cream in hand

Enjoying the music being played by the one-man-band

But out of frame his mother is frantic

Trying to get in the shelter by any sort of antic


And a picture is worth a thousand words

But some things an image could never tell

The cameraman frames a shot of heavenly birds

As they fight their way through hell


A mom sick with depression and self-hate

Smiles for the camera on an anniversary date

And she knows the next day she’ll up and leave

So She’ll hopefully be free from her cage of disease


But smile she does as she whispers her thousand words

A smile that’s fake and clearly not hers

No one can care for what they can’t see

So how bout a word, or how about three

Or maybe a hundred and hopefully a thousand

To make the story real, one the teller bows in


We see thousands of pictures and faces all around

Each tells a story, but the real one is yet to be found

Behind the smiling face is a storyteller carrying a burden

But we freeze the frame before they can even get a word in


The camera clicks and I’m the one who pressed it

A child in Haiti, you probably guessed it

She smiles for the camera ‘cause I made her laugh

But she’s tired and hungry and really needs a bath


She sleeps on the floor, in a stick-and-mud house

And each night she’s crawled on by many a mouse

I meet with her family to fulfill her desire

But am brought to tears and feel like a liar

Because that picture I took of the child with a smile

Does not represent some JPG file

It represents a family and a girl in despair

That somehow ended up with a life that’s unfair


But we don’t want that story and we won’t see people cry

We’d rather see a smile and assume everything’s all right

But that picture isn’t real nor the lie it depicts

So I’ll write for that child and the life that she gets


So I ask you please, would you consider

Is that photo the story, or is there something bigger