Dept. of Word Lists

A Visual Thesaurus Verse for the New Year

As we settle into 2011, Visual Thesaurus contributor Bob Greenman has been reflecting on the past year of writing for the VT. Join Bob as he takes a versified look back at how he has been inspired by his "lexicon-muse."

It's twenty eleven, we're back on the scene,
Submitting for your delectation,
A daily pastiche, a mélange, if you will,  
A platter for your satiation.

If in two thousand ten you relished Visual Thesaurus,
It's a pretty safe bet you love words less or morus. 
And if you've delighted in boosting your vocab,
You can credit that partly to this online language lab.

It's Zimmer I'm thinking of, Baron and Friedman,
Hargraves and Peters, Whitman and Greenman.
Tips on writing, too, on teaching and grammar,
Gently presented, all without clamor.

It's Lydon for that, right? And Brenner and Reed,
Glickman and Rubiner, voices to heed.
Carey and Shults, Daphne Gray-Grant,
Dunaway, too, all there to enchant.

They explain, entertain, they discourse, let the light in,
No wonder the plaudits of readers who write in.
As for me, I must say I've enjoyed it immensely,
Selecting locutions, searching intensely.

I talked about twaddle, piffle, blather and tripe,
Tawdry hucksters in Hollywood, them and their hype.
When I wrote about Daisy, my canine predominant,
Appellation, admonition, fait accompli were dominant.

Is lemon peel de rigueur in Boston espresso?
Ugh, "repugnant," said some waiters, others "Why not so?"
Can't believe so late in life I learned the meaning of savory,
It's the opposite of sweet, like sauces and gravery.

The tribute I paid when the school year began, 
To an ardent and magical, spellbinding man
Included some words linked to teachers unlike him,
Supercilious, bullying, noncommittal and quite dim.

Sampling a soupçon of cocktails abundant                                                  
I tasted each once, I was never redundant.
Daiquiri, grasshopper, pink lady, zombie,                                                    
A whole constellation I once thought beyond me.

In glittering crowds and canyons of steel
I found Rockefeller Center's quotidian appeal.                                                      
One night, though, my euphoric, effervescent elation
Got me spurned, rebuffed, rejected from a kiss's consummation.

On the road with my father during  weeks-long school vacations,                    
I collected hapless snakes, speedy skinks and crustaceans.
Lots of traveling time for convivial banter,
Driving west to Detroit, and south to Atlanter.

With oblivion the fate of half my keyboard's letters,
A conundrum left me shackled, chained in mental fetters.
The E, the A, the I, the O, had, of course, explainable pathology,
But where is the hierophant who'll explain my faint G's etiology.

The new year begins, I have more words to pitch,
Some will delight, I hope all will enrich.                                                   
Can't tell at the moment the words I will choose,
So much depends on my lexicon-muse.

You may see lubricious, mephitic, and feign,
Disgruntled, farrago, interregnum, inane.
You may see uxorious, vilify, cagey,
Lacuna, granitic, verboten and stagey.

Possibly lachrymose, rue, acquiesce,
Efflorescence, effervescence, histrionic, deliquesce.                              
Acrimonious, captious, gawp, remuneration,
Exponential, dunderhead, flout, elucidation.

So please, be my guest again, as I go on this quest again,                              
Bringing you words that enhance             
Your writing, your reading, your thinking, your speaking,
Engaged in our language romance.


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Bob Greenman is the author of Words That Make a Difference; and, with his wife, Carol, More Words That Make a Difference, vocabulary enrichment books based on words and passages from The New York Times and The Atlantic Monthly. Bob taught English and journalism at James Madison and Edward R. Murrow High Schools, and at Kingsborough Community College, all in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a newspaper in education consultant for The New York Times, and his website has a section devoted to journalism education. Click here to read more articles by Bob Greenman.

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Comments from our users:

Tuesday January 11th 2011, 12:42 PM
Comment by: Bob K. (Sun Lakes, AZ)
At last, someone who actually writes a poem using meter (mostly) and rhyme (a bit of a stretch here and there). Very entertaining and well done. To my mind, the primary talent required for a "modern" poet is the ability to hit the "Return" or "Enter" key after every fourth or fifth word. Robert Frost said he'd "as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down."

Andy Rooney opines that "there are more bad poets than bad electricians and plumbers. Maybe poets ought to be licensed." I heartily second the motion.
Wednesday January 12th 2011, 4:22 PM
Comment by: Darwin Z.
You know , I wanted to make a comment but I couldn't think of a word. heh heh . Laugh !! Darnie
Thursday January 13th 2011, 11:00 AM
Comment by: Stan Carey (Galway Ireland)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
Bravo, Bob! I enjoyed every beat, every line, every unexpected rhyme. (Especially the zombie one.) I'd like to respond in kind with a short verse in the style of Little Miss Muffet:

Visual Thesaurus
Offers a chorus
Reading its words a day;
I look to confirm
A synonymous term
Then worlds open up, and I stay.
Thursday January 13th 2011, 2:04 PM
Comment by: Bob K. (Sun Lakes, AZ)
Thanks, Stan. Very well done. Now that we've shifted into Mother Goose land, I was reminded of an add-on stanza I did years ago to the old Humpty Dumpty rhyme, as a commentary on our litigious society. Sadly, it's even truer today than it was then.

Humpty Dumpty, after his fall,
Called in his lawyers and said, "Sue 'em all!"
They sued the King's horses, and all the King's men,
For failing to put him together again.

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