Ann loves to write poetry and stories. Current poetry on Nature, Travel & beyond, including varied poetic structures.
What are Words For?
Poetry of Words
I couldn’t let poetry month go by without penning a poem about ‘Words’. They are, after all, my career, my hobby and my passion.
In linguistics a word is the smallest element that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning.
We learn to speak, then we learn to read, write and spell, with ease or with varying difficulties. I taught dyslexics for many years. I was surprised at how many of my students liked poetry, indeed how many enjoyed writing it. They were encouraged to write it without worrying about the spelling. After all, most were able to use phonetic patterns to make sure anyone reading would know what was meant. Who needs spelling?!
The choice of words for poetry is different from writing prose; some say the words should rhyme, some that free verse is better. Whatever you think about that, poetry has a certain rhythm, is a medium which can be a lot shorter than prose but say much more.
Here are a few poems about words.
Words woven round wires in brain,
waking images for text to trace
on page for all to read.
Words to pique emotions fast,
conjure minds’ responsiveness,
each his actions feed.
Words plucked from heart and soul,
washed by tears on each soft face
or greeted by smiles’ seed.
Words to cut a deep, dark gash,
throwing horror, death, disgrace,
at turmoil’s end, cruel deed.
Words soothing wanderer’s path,
calming each a worried brow,
spirits raising, firming creed.
Words: mankind’s ambassador for Peace and Love
Too Many Words!
Words, words, words,
rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,
will it never stop?
pursuing ’til I drop.
Can’t you be quiet?
Can’t you see
me down on my knees?
Don’t you realise
I’m all spent,
swaying in the breeze?
Words, words, words,
have a heart,
Just zip it, please, please, please……
I’m fraying at the edges,
will kick you into touch,
so I think you’d better shush..
Thank you very much.
Games with words,
games I played when
you think and spell,
to choose well.
Mum and Dad,
fun to add to,
good or bad!
Points for letters
rare in many,
more for me
learn and play,
done with grandchildren,
For Better or Worse
Words can be used for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Our relationship with them depends on whether we cherish or abuse them. So let’s choose them carefully, economically and to best effect.
It is possible to communicate in other ways, of course, but words make it a whole lot easier. With the words come tone, facial expression, gestures, volume, all making up our body language. Emotion also comes with words, if we pick them carefully.
Words conjure images. Images conjure words. We can even make up our own. How often do you hear children use their own vocabulary? Shakespeare made up words, so why shouldn’t we?
Shakespeare's Own Words
You can link them to his plays if you follow the site source below.
barefaced, critic, dwindle, eyeball - barefaced liar; eyeball someone (face to face, eye to eye)
frugal, hobnob, jaded, lackluster - hobnob with someone, chatter with them (also a biscuit!)
monumental, moonbeam, negotiate, obsequiously
puking, swagger, vaulting, zany - 'puking' is my favourite, so onomatopoeic!
Winston Churchill, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde
Words from the Wise
- 'You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.'
- 'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.'
- 'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.'
- 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.'
- 'The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.'
- 'Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.'
- 'The secret to getting ahead is getting started.' (one for all writers, I think?)
- 'Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.'
- 'Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.'
- 'Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.'
- 'I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.'
- 'Women are made to be loved, not understood.'
My Personal Favourites
Words make phrases and certain phrases have a personal meaning for me, words spoken to me in a variety of situations.
- ‘She’s wicked i’n’t she - Grandma?’ said by my granddaughter to her Mum.
She was bothered that I’d see her looking ‘odd’ with blobs of suncream on her face before her Mum rubbed them in, so I did the same and left them on my cheeks and forehead, then pretended I didn’t want her to see me by poking my head round the door then disappearing with a shriek ‘oh no!’. She thought I was crackers and joined in the fun.
- ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’ said by one of my dyslexic students.
We were saying goodbye on the last day of term, the day he was leaving our school, going on to college. He was one of my all-time favourite pupils (I know! We’re not meant to have those, but we do, just try not to make it obvious.) He came to our specialist school worrying about his difficulties, with no self-esteem. He left with excellent grades, full of confidence and went on to university and more success. And why? Because he was determined to pull through, to make something of himself, with or without my help. I was just the crutch along the way. I told him he was the one who had ‘done it’.
- ‘I love you’ said by anyone to anyone, but especially by my loved ones to me.
How that makes our hearts soar! How wonderful when we hear it for the first time! How great it is to be loved.
- ‘I’ve missed you.’
This simple phrase makes us feel worthy, appreciated, loved and makes us realise that we are in people’s thoughts when we are apart. I had been away for 10 weeks’ holiday and all my grandchildren uttered those words when I first saw them on my return, emphasised by a huge hug.
Daffodil, Primrose and Austin A30
- ‘It’s lovely to see you.’
Good friends meet us and we know they value our company, our conversation and our relationships. It’s just that extra appreciation that is worth so much when expressed. We might know it but it’s good to hear.
- ‘Can I help you?’ said with sincerity.
Someone is telling us we are not alone, that somebody cares, someone who can add a positive to any situation.
- ‘Well done’ from my parents (sadly not around any more).
How special it is to have recognition from one’s parents, to have the knowledge that they are proud of us, to feel their encouragement along the way.
- ‘You’ve passed!’ - exams, driving test (car & motorbike)
Months of hard work learning to drive have paid off and we are finally independent, able to save up for a car, drive around with our friends, use it for work.
My Dad let me drive his car only a few days after passing my test. How trusting he was and how grateful I was, and am, to him for bestowing that trust.
My granddaughter has recently passed her driving test and drove off with pride in her own little car, saved up for by extra work in the holidays and after college.
- ‘You are a good/creative/interesting… writer.’ said by a fellow hubber or two.
This makes me feel professionally proud, as though I’ve achieved something. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, it’s humbling but pleasing and gives me encouragement.
Single word references can evoke sights, sounds or smells:
- Daffodil, primrose, buttercup, daisy
all bring memories of childhood with places and people to complete the scene.
- Austin A30
The mere mention of this by anyone recalls my first car and all the places we went together. My Dad bought it for me for the, then, princely sum of £50! I called it 'The Bubble' because it was grey and looked like one.
Old Words of the Landscape
A Question to Finish with
Many older words, especially those connected to nature and the landscape, have been removed from the Junior Oxford English Dictionary because they are considered to have gone out of children's common use and, which is worse, knowledge. I was surprised to find that they included words such as 'acorn' and 'heron! Let's not lose any of our words, historical or otherwise.!
What would we do without words? Consider that question! It poses so many scenarios, so many difficulties, in fact I can’t imagine what the answer could be. I’ll leave that to you!
© 2018 Ann Carr