Monthly Archives: May 2022

Pulchritude

How can a word that means beauty, come out sounding like spit? No, really, it does. Or how about the sound a cat makes just before he lands a hairball on your brand-new living room rug? It is not a pretty word. It has a beautiful meaning but the word itself is unattractive.  And yet the word ugly actually looks kind of cute. All those curly bits. Confused yet? Read on…

I love words for their meaning but they also have other attributes. They can visually form patterns that are pleasing to the eye or perhaps discordant. I know most people don’t look at words that way but I do. I do not like the word yellow and yet I love the colour, some shades.  Why you wonder? I have no idea. I know what I like the look of, exactly the same way I know what I like the taste of. I don’t like beets. It’s as simple as that. Using beets to dye something can be incredible. They have the most extraordinary colour but I don’t like the taste of them.

There are several forms of poetry that are restrictive. Allowing only a certain number of syllables per line which actually forms an image. A shape that is pleasing to the eye. Was it intentional? Possibly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that some poetry forms are not as pleasing to look at. Again, is it intentional? Probably not. How many people do you know that are so twisted that they look at the image of the word on a page as well as its meaning? I don’t imagine there are too many of us.

When I write poetry or prose, I am always aware of how it looks on the page. Are there too many paragraphs? Are there too few?  I find different fonts are more comfortable, more pleasing to the eye. I think aesthetics is a big part of our understanding simply because if we find something pleasant to look at, we are more likely to invest more time reading the words. If I’m reading a book that is uncomfortable, I will put it aside. If the words are that compelling, I might go back but I might not.

Another thing I am constantly aware of is cadence. Perhaps more so in poetry because it does have a singsong quality to it, in my opinion. But it is also there in prose.  Long sentences tend to promote comfort unless they are too long in which case they are irritating. Short sentences are like short burst of energy. The words, the meanings are sharp and cutting. Using words that are over long and verbose is like having two types of gravy for the same meal:  unnecessary. If used properly words have such incredible power. They have the capacity to love, to hate, to cajole and to succour. Please use them responsibly.

 

Errant Thoughts

An errant thought crept up on me,

I didn’t have a chance.

It made me climb a big old tree,

And pushed me off a branch!

 

Then I waded in a pool,

With mud and creepy crawlies!

Something wrapped around my leg,

How somethings’ get their jollies!

 

Please! Oh please! Just let me out!

Let my thoughts be nice.

A hunk of cheese, a glass of wine,

Perhaps leave out the mice!

 

But I fear, it’s not to be,

My thought is on a bender.

It thinks of things I’d never do!

Could I just surrender?

 

Bungee jumping from a plane?

I think that thought is crazy!

Deep sea diving and no mask?

The world is getting hazy!

 

I was startled from the thought,

Alarms began to squawk!

Now the world is settling down,

It’s just my bedside clock!

Kindly Clutter

 

Last weekend I had an unusual occurrence. I stopped thinking. Now that sounds a little odd but my mind is constantly in motion. It’s a little creepy when I say it out loud but it simply means I am always aware of thoughts. Good thoughts. I work out short stories in my head or posts for my blog or poems.  A lot of my quips come out of my gentle musings. I watch TV or read  to distract me but I’m rarely able to do one thing at a time. And then last weekend it all stopped.

You know how people are always saying in order to truly relax you must rid your mind of all thought. I can’t do that. I’m like a hamster on a wheel going around and around and around. It’s been like this my entire life so to me it’s just like white noise. My mind is always cogitating in the background and for the most part I don’t pay attention. I explained to a friend that one has a brain, a mind and body. We are our own trinity.  Think of it as your brain is the hardware, your mind is the software and your body is the packaging that keeps everything from falling apart. I told you my mind works in strange ways. So, when it stopped, I was . . . bereft.

Do you remember the expression:  “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”? It’s from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Of course, I modified it for my circumstances . . . Clutter, clutter everywhere and not a thought to think. My mind is full of clutter, as is my home. I have always admired the concept of minimalism but I could never live that way. I need my clutter. It enlightens me, it inspires me, it consoles me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For almost two days I wandered around my apartment trying to distract myself. Fortunately, my weeks-worth of posting was already set. It’s like walking through a visual world and not being able to see. One of my senses was gone. It was not gone for long. But it did leave me unsettled. I have now gotten a post out of it so it wasn’t all bad.

I greatly admire people who have lost an ability and have been able to function beautifully with what they have left. Then again maybe I do understand. I lost my legs 20 years ago or rather I lost the use of them. I’ve been in a wheelchair for two decades and my life really hasn’t changed significantly. Yes, I have to modify how things are done and there are things that do defeat me but I can usually find a work-around. It helps to be tenacious and occasionally cranky. The Ancient Mariner may have been becalmed on a salty sea with nothing to drink but I have people and words to go to for thoughtful nourishment.