Words of Fervor & Folly

Good afternoon, dear readers. I’ve been looking at the word prompts for today, plus I read an interesting article at Pocket, now I’ll try to gather all the thoughtlets that are bouncing around.

First, I must thank Fandango for his FOWC prompt today, which is ARCANE. I thought I understood this word, but decided I’d check in the dictionary and be certain. And I was SO WRONG! Somehow I’ve gotten this word confused with INANE.

Sue’s JibberJabber prompt for today is CHANGE and I’ve had to completely change my thinking after this little visit to the dictionary. I’ll know better now if I happen to read in a story: “After making an arcane remark in answer to his question, his assistant left the room.”
How I’ve misjudged the poor person! I always thought they’d said something stupid or sarcastic.

According to Lexico, ARCANE means
Understood by few; mysterious or secret.
synonyms: obscure, deep, profound

INANE means:
Lacking sense or meaning; silly
synonyms: empty, insubstantial

ASININE, going even further, means:
Extremely stupid or foolish
synonyms: silly, brainless, nonsensical

The Your Daily Word prompt for today is PLETHORA, so I’ll tack this all together for a bit of linguistic history.

Owing to its tendency to gather words from all nations, the English language has a plethora of words that mean, or sound, almost the same — synonyms, we call them. Check out any thesaurus and  you’ll see dozens of synonyms for some words, especially slang expressions. I counted 48 shorter variations of “drunk” and a few longer ones like “in his cups.”

Quite a few dictionary words are archaic, or regional and thus arcane — do you know what a SCOP is? — while most are widely known to English speakers across the globe. Some words have shifted, like HAGGARD, which meant wild or untamed, but has shifted over time and is now understood as “having a gaunt, worn appearance.”

Over the centuries the Bible has had a profound effect on English, giving us the Ten Commandments and the  Golden Rule, along with many other expressions and lines. And poets have enriched the language with expressions that became part of everyday vocabulary.

Like Bobby Burns, with “the best laid plans of mice and man go oft astray…” Even though he wrote his “Ode To A Mouse” in 1785, I still see these words in articles today. Charles Dickens gave us Scrooge, who will forever represent the quintessential miser.

Sitcoms and stand-up comedians have added a lot of witty and/or inane wisecracks, like “He’s quite fond of John Barleycorn,” and “The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor,” and punch lines like “Been there; done that.”

Now for a thought on FERVOR, which I gleaned a few hours ago from an article at POCKET. Here’s a list of six “weak verbs” we should use sparingly in our speech. Using these expressions make us sound INDECISIVE.* Something to consider.
I think
I need
I want
I hope
I guess
I suppose

*Synonyms: ambivalent, conflicted, doubtful, dithering,
faltering, skeptical, wishy-washy, uncertain, wavering

And now I guess…oops!…I…er…definitely WILL go and do something else. 😉

Sunday Slivers

Here are a few of my recent senryu to give you a chuckle as you think of the work week ahead.

free pens
handed out to the crowd
just sign here

brand new product
thirty-day guarantee
same old dotted line

commuter train
buzzing with office gossip
dust swirls in its wake
Gabriella Henderson — Unsplash

Ten Great Feelings

A fellow Canadian blogger, Xandria, has come up with a new “tag” and Shweta at My Random Ramblings has nominated me.

According to Xandria, the requirement is simple:
“All you have to do is tag me in the post – (I really want to know what you put down) and list out 10 of your favourite feelings! No pressure to do this, just thought it would be fun, and something different.”

Beach.Free photos
Free photos — Pixabay

The “feelings” bloggers list are mostly favourite activities they enjoy, that make them feel good.  It’s hard to separate the two. For example, when I think of walking on a beach on a sunny day and feeling the soft warmth of sand beneath my feet, that’s as much an activity as a feeling, but it works for both. The feelings would be warmth and contentment.

WARMTH and CONTENTMENT are two of my favourite feelings, but when the day is really hot, I’m delighted by a cool breeze or an air-conditioned room. So really I should add COMFORTABLE to my list. Now, if I were an avid fan of jogging or sports, I’d probably enjoy feeling hot, sweaty, and sort of exhausted. But there aren’t many humans who like feeling uncomfortable.

When I read a book blurb and the book sounds really promising, my curiosity kicks in and I’m eager to check if the story’s as interesting as it sounds. Or you hear that someone whom you’ve heard lots about will be in your area and you’re eager to meet them. EAGERNESS  is a favourite feeling and CURIOSITY usually is, too. (Unless I’m curious what other might be saying about me. Fear and worry aren’t ever good feelings. 🙂

When I’ve tried to do something that takes effort, and I accomplish what I set out to do, I feel PLEASED, which is a good kind of SATISFIED. When the work is done and I flop into my recliner with that good book, I feel RELAXED.

To feel love toward someone, thankfulness for what someone has done for me, and/or loved by someone are among the best feelings we can have. So LOVED, LOVING, and GRATITUDE go on my top-ten list.

As I go about my work, my mind turns over many thoughts, and slowly a story takes shape. I can see how this will play out. Or perhaps I glance out the window and see something that impresses me. I love being INSPIRED and ENTHUSED, wanting to share with others some thought that impresses me and might give them pleasure, too. GENEROUS is a good feeling, in my books.

HAPPINESS is a wonderful feeling, although it’s pretty hard to nail down as a single. Happiness is rather the result of other feelings coming together to make me feel great.

And that gets me to fifteen enjoyable feelings. Any of you other bloggers who want to give this a try, please accept this challenge and list your own. Check back with Xandria to see more details, and leave her a pingback.

Spiralling

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LIKE A CIRCLE IN A SPIRAL.

ksenia-k-5ClvdUR-AEU-unsplashI suppose almost every spiral has a circle at its base, like the one in this image posted by KseniaK on Unsplash. But my mind went to another circle: that vice at the bottom of the downward spiral people sometimes find themselves in. Whatever the addiction that entices, when it takes hold, it tries to suck us down.

So here’s my verse, only lightly polished, as my response to today’s prompt:

THE SPIRAL

that first circle
a few young teens giggling
sipping into somebody’s
daddy’s stash of bottles

another whirl, the parties
everybody drinks at them
the high school dances
quick sips in quiet corners
circles spinning her round

somehow, sometime
the bottle reached out
grabbed her by the throat
and wouldn’t let go
fun turned to pain
and the spiral started
pulling her down its dark path

half-sober, she dimly recalls
those coins she once had,
the people she wanted to love
yes, she grabbed for them
wanting desperately to hold on
but one by one they rolled
lost among the empties
the spiral drew her down

the husband who didn’t stay
washed away in the foam,
her children, their eyes round
as they watched their mother
stagger across the house
then downcast, ashamed
when their friends saw her too
they left as soon as they could
and her life was full of empties,
so many circles in her spiral

she sheds a few tears
there in the dark stairway
when she’s sober enough
to remember what she once had
how much those clanking circles
cost as they bottled her

she needs another drink
the blinking neon beckons
across the road she stumbles
not seeing the bright lights
round eyes bearing down
a squeal, and the world spins
the pavement so bruising
perplexingly rises to face her

sirens pierce the night
scream through her brain
colored lights flash
bouncing off the pavement
hurting her eyes – such pain!
gravelly voices rock her mind:
Ma’am? Ma’am can you hear me?
the steady circling, circling
of those flashing lights
wailing, wailing
– or is that her?

For Your Child

Here are some thoughts from 19th century American evangelist Billy Sunday. He’s speaking about the concern of a parent for his child, as well as sharing a memory from his own childhood. I believe what he says here applies to all parents.

“As a rule a man wants something better for his children than he has had for himself. My father died before I was born and I lived with my grandfather. He smoked, but he didn’t want me to. He chewed tobacco, but he didn’t want me to. He cursed, but he didn’t want me to. He made wine that would make a man fight his own mother after he had drunk it.

One day a neighbor was in and my grandfather asked him for a chew. (The neighbor bit off a chunk and) He went to hand it back and I wanted some. (Grandfather) said I couldn’t have it. I said I wanted it anyhow. He picked me up, turned me across his knee and gave me a crack that made me see stars as big as moons.

If there is a father that hits the booze, he doesn’t want his son to. If he’s keeping someone on the side, he doesn’t want his son to. In other words, you would not want your son to live like you if you are not living right.

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An old general was at the bedside of his dying daughter. He didn’t believe in the Bible and his daughter said, ‘What shall I do? You don’t believe in the Bible. Mamma does. If I obey one I’m going against the other.
The old general put his arms around his daughter and said, ‘Follow your mother’s way; it is the safest.’ Man wants his children to have that which is sure.”

From BILLY SUNDAY, The Man And His Message by William T Ellis L.L.D. (© 1914)

Note re: Editing
I started this post with the Description + Image block pattern, then went to Paragraph for the quote, inserting an Inline image. You can regulate the image size, but there doesn’t seem to be much control over where the image goes. This is a Superscript.

Jane Taylor’s Verse

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is TWINKLE.
I know this isn’t original, but my thoughts automatically went to the little song, so I’m going to post it. I had no idea there were so many verses!
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star was written by Jane Taylor, an English poet and novelist (1783 – 1824). She lived to be only 40 years old and probably never dreamed, as she penned the poem, that the first verse would echo through the centuries in children’s choruses all over the world.
Flourish.plainer
Stars.night.David MarkTwinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?
In the dark blue sky you keep,
Often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.