As children,
terror was a bad dream.
Or the bogeyman coming to get you.
We told scary stories around campfires
and screamed on the rollercoaster.
As we grew up,
the word took on new meaning.
Terror was trembling at serious danger.
We learned it was
one of the most powerful emotions
in the spectrum of human existence,
as were joy,
and anger,
and love.
And we used the word sparingly.
But today it trips off our tongues
and our hearts don’t skip a beat.
This terrible word,
which should be held in a cage
within our vocabulary,
is on every page,
every broadcast,
every world-conscious conversation.
Those in power play upon it,
toy with it and toy with us.
It has been unleashed
like the panic it promises.
Words matter.
Spare us this word.
Most of all,
spare us.


©Ellen Azorin