In the beginning was the word….

Dear Friend,

For a year now, I have had it in my mind to start a blog. And here I am on Friday, January 8, 2016, nearly a year after conceiving this idea, writing my first post.  As you can see, I’m a fast mover.

I love words. The family joke is: when we were little we were so poor the only thing we had to play with was words.

Words praise, words heal, words hurt, words show love, hate, kindness, cunning, words have the power to make you laugh or cry–maybe both at the same time if you’re anything like me. Words surround our existence and it’s so appropriate that the apostle John begins his letter “In the beginning was the Word…”

Today, as I struggle to learn the language of blogging, all I can think is “All this, so I can share Words?” Welcome to 2016, Olivia. So, I go back to my tutorials (What is a widget, anyway?) and I leave you with a poem of words from my favorite poet, Billy Collins.

Thesaurus

It could be the name of a prehistoric beast
that roamed the Paleozoic earth, rising up
on its hind legs to show off its large vocabulary,
or some lover in a myth who is metamorphosed into a book.

It means treasury, but it is just a place
where words congregate with their relatives,
a big park where hundreds of family reunions
are always being held,
house, home, abode, dwelling, lodgings, and digs,
all sharing the same picnic basket and thermos;
hairy, hirsute, woolly, furry, fleecy, and shaggy
all running a sack race or throwing horseshoes,
inert, static, motionless, fixed and immobile
standing and kneeling in rows for a group photograph.

Here father is next to sire and brother close
to sibling, separated only by fine shades of meaning.
And every group has its odd cousin, the one
who traveled the farthest to be here:
astereognosis, polydipsia, or some eleven
syllable, unpronounceable substitute for the word tool.
Even their own relatives have to squint at their name tags.

I can see my own copy up on a high shelf.
I rarely open it, because I know there is no
such thing as a synonym and because I get nervous
around people who always assemble with their own kind,
forming clubs and nailing signs to closed front doors
while others huddle alone in the dark streets.

I would rather see words out on their own, away
from their families and the warehouse of Roget,
wandering the world where they sometimes fall
in love with a completely different word.
Surely, you have seen pairs of them standing forever
next to each other on the same line inside a poem,
a small chapel where weddings like these,
between perfect strangers, can take place.

–Billy Collins, The Art of Drowning, 1995

 

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