Two takes on Thesaurus

the elocution lesson

No no, don't ever intone this poem
nor embellish it further with Thespian art
the title alone summons drama and bedlam.
announce it quite clearly and then make a start.
"Giant Thunder" by James Reeves*

Here's a tempestuous, thunderous titan
empty of belly, belligerent, bellicose
home to an uncooked dinner of bones.
Just imagine the terrible marital clamour
yell, wail, and roar in a hellish discord
so bellow with verve every - resonant - word.
That's right, keep all their dissension
in tension.

The hag-wife's rejoinder (though not written down)
is polar to honeyed, poetic and tonal
envisage a harridan, termagant, crone
give voice to her riding on rip-roaring gale
clouds running roughshod, a cowering moon
forests that flinch under whip of typhoon
crow, cackle, blabber heard above town
and gurgling gutters as torrents rush down.

Now pause there; let silence attend the storm's break
Lake shores overflowing, some creatures astir
the ogre he'll gorge on the one's that won't wake
- so utter one sob, just before closure.

Giant Thunder“, a poem I learned as a young schoolgirl for a speech and drama competition

the post-Thesaurian manuscript

Even before meanings ring
with an inkling, the first note
is resonance. Isn't that what poets
pursue? Perusing all the parallels
reaching for the Roget.

Wielding cumbersome lines
as newborns, we pare, decorticate
eviscerate the vocables. Occlusion,
plosion, our mouths like organ stops
singeing syllables till the meter
ticks and the lyrics begin to sing

now the poem is manuscript
black and white morphemes
of music decreeing melody
and songs with sometime rhymes


Celebrating Roget and National Thesaurus Day with my Poetics prompt “The Poet’s Store House” in which we compose a ‘sound poem’ and/or one with Thesaurus as subject. – I’ve opted for both. The first poem utilizes a select category of hearing words I chose from Hart’s “Thesaurus of the Senses” including bellow; clamour; rip-roaring; tempestuous; honeyed; poetic; tonal; blabber; cackle; embellish; intone. The prompt invites further expansion with synonym or antonym.

58 thoughts on “Two takes on Thesaurus

  1. I so love both of the poems, the left one with all the explosiveness of synonyms, especially in the second stanza.. and then the second which is almost a manual on how to write finding that perfect word to use for the purpose of verse.

  2. This is exquisitely drawn, Laura! Wow! I am especially enamored by; “Wielding cumbersome lines as newborns, we pare, decorticate eviscerate the vocables.” Yes! 💜💜

  3. My goodness, an exquisite explosion of synonyms, a scholarly and masterful tome; so very impressive.

  4. The way you tinkered with your lines to find the perfect tone is a lesson learned, I must say, and I wish I’d explored with synonyms and antonyms…how it opens everything up! So wonderfully done…

    1. I appreciate your appreciation Ain – I would not normally overload with the synonyms etc except for this prompt but each word unlocks another which is why I love the Thesaurus

  5. I enjoyed both poems very much, Laura, and thanks for a wonderful prompt! I especially liked these lines:

    ‘Even before meanings ring
    with an inkling, the first note
    is resonance.’

    Because when I’m composing poetry, sometimes the sound or shape of the words comes to me before the meaning. In that way, it’s more like composing a song.

  6. If the emphasis was to enthuse a lesson, well, you’ve taught me a thing, or two.

    Electrifying writing from the get go. Props for linking me to Giant Thunder, as a side note, though, it doesn’t strike so bright, in the wake of reading yours, honestly. This was masterful, more than a poem, a reflection and study, with depth – true art, Laura.

    1. the Reeves poem is underwhelming but for this child learning annunciation and pronunciation a good one. Thank you for such high praise – I’m stuck for words (must reach for Roget!)

  7. You show us what wonders can be made with words! Fitting tributes to Roget and the thesaurus.

  8. The first one thunderously evokes all the sounds and then the second one gently reveals the process! A masterclass in using today’s prompt. Thank you, Laura, for this wonderful share.

  9. This was an interesting prompt, Laura! I agree, we all seek resonance in our words. Words without resonance are meaningless in poetry. Love your ending: poems are black and while melodies… and sometimes rhyme.

  10. Great use of sound words. Bravo.
    #I always read your post but depending on the devise i am using, i can comment

    Much love…

  11. Well actually, I love both versions here!
    “Just imagine the terrible marital clamour” I am smitten with this line and then all the amazing sounds that follow!
    And in the second poem, the idea of the mouth like organ stops is fantastic! My daughter is an organist and if you google abbey siegfried andover in a minute you can see a very short blurb of her at the organ and explaining it…and explaining that the phrase, “pulling out all the stops” is actually a reference by Mozart I believe, to the pipe organ!
    Hoping to see you at dVerse LIVE in a bit today! 🙂 I’m hosting…so consider this your personal invitation!

    1. thanks for favouring both Lilian – I’m not surprised the second one resonated with you!! What an impressive daughter – I’ve a friend who used to renovate all the pipe organs in church and cathedrals. In much the same way as pipe organ playing we use our tongues and mouth to stop or open up sounds
      p.s. thanks for the OLN live invite but…

feedback is food for thought....

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