ubiquitous as water, find words
on cereal boxes, cracker wraps
this pencil, this keyboard
beside the road, on your stove
TV remote, light bulb
in the speech cloud above my head
the thought bubble above yours
words have texture and heft
substance, power and cleft
they sing and ring
cling and fling
can be tart or tasty
considered or hasty
with precise aim and tone
they can break a bone
some paint broad strokes
like impressionist art
others are real
as an Alex Colville
complete with summer day
© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly
Tomorrow (January 18th) would be the 235th birthday of Peter Roget, the physician / theologian / lexicographer who compiled the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. It was published in 1852 and went through twenty-eight editions in his lifetime. (He died in 1869) (The Christian Almanac, p. 47).
Thank you, Mr. Roget. I love words and I love your Thesaurus!
Want to find out about more interesting facts about January. Check out the January ’14 Freelance Writers Almanac post on my writer blog. It’s my plan to post an almanac post on the first day of each month this year.
This post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Keri at Keri Recommends.
19 thoughts on “Words”
Your words and the picture are perfect. And happy Birthday Roget – I love his thesaurus as well.
Thank you, Kiwiskan. Aren’t we blessed to have that handy word book?
Words “can be tart and tasty” – so true! And that art work by Alex Colville is BEAUTIFUL (or should I say it’s beauteous, handsome, gorgeous, pretty, lovely, graceful, elegant, attractive, inviting, delicate, dainty, refined, fair, personable, comely, seemly, bonny [Scottish], good-looking, well-favored, well-made, well-formed, well-proportioned, shapely or harmonious? 🙂 Thanks for posting both the poem and the painting. And Happy Birthday, Mr. Roget.
Ha! You’ve got the thesaurus spirit alright! Love it 🙂
LOVE your poem, Violet. What a fabulous celebration of words (I so enjoy rolling each around in my mouth, reading them aloud, tasting and chewing and savoring. Happy Birthday, Roget!
Dear Jama, so glad this is a foodie delight for you.
“ubiquitous as water” is a great opening! Love it.
I’m a thesaurus fan, too!
Thanks Diane! I’m not surprised you’re a thesaurus fan… what wordsmith isn’t?
Violet, I always admire your words/poems, but this time you are writing about words! Very special, and the painting, too. I am not a huge art person, but I don’t know this artist-beautiful scene. It reminds me a little of Edward Hopper’s work. Also, I just read a post from Jen Bryant, whose recent picture book is A Splash of Red (about Horace Pippin). She shared that her next book coming out (this fall perhaps?) is about Roget, about his gift to the world, the Thesaurus! I thought that was so great, & then you tell us about his birthday. Thought you’d enjoy knowing!
Thanks, Linda – and for the information that someone is doing a book about Roget! That will be interesting.
Perhaps you don’t know Colville because he is/was a Canadian artist (actually died only last July). You can view more of his paintings here: http://alexcolville.ca/gallery/
With precise aim and tone they can break a bone. So true and yet not what the old saying says. I love my Roget’s thesaurus. The others just aren’t as good.
“words have texture and heft
substance, power and cleft”
Love this, Violet! My Roget thesaurus is dog-eared and well loved. Thanks for sharing. =)
This rhythm of this poem feels so perfect in my mouth. I can’t even imagine trying to get these words so exactly perfect. And then that last stanza- such a terrific comparison. I don’t kow Colville, I want to go looking for more of his work.
Thank you so much, Carol, Bridget and Liz!
I love the way you connected words to art!
Beautiful painting and word-happy poem – thank you! I especially like your sound-play in the second stanza. Fun!
I love this! Thanks for sharing it!
Thanks so much, Ruth!
You sure do know how to knock my socks off, Violet! The lines, “in the speech cloud above my head/the thought bubble above yours” are brilliant. Thank you for celebrating Mr. Roget and the power of words.