Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a poem that, like “Dictionary Illustrations,” is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day. Maybe a strange word will catch your eye, or perhaps the mishmash of information will provide you with the germ of a poem. For what it’s worth, my 1961 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 11, has just informed me that despite “his beauty,” the “profligacy” of the Emperor Heliogabalus’s life “was such as to shock even the Roman public,” while also presenting me with a lovely little line drawing of a variant of heliotrope, the flowers of which are said to smell like cherry pie.
Had fun writing it using the words on page 648 and 649 of the Oxford Dictionary – I’ve highlighted the words taken from these pages in blue, below.
I don’t know what I was thinking
when I began this task today
And while I wished to rewind and begin again
the rules of the game stood in the way
Breaking them not an option
Or choosing another page;
So, here it is, for a prig like me
No, not literally, it’s just the first word I see;
And then there’s ‘prie-dieu‘ which sounds quite nice
From the hoity- toity French ofcourse.
It means, the ‘kneeling-desk for prayer.’
Makes me feel so very righteous
Talking of all things holy,
When I see with my little eye ‘priapism’
And can’t help but feel, I’ve committed perjury!
How ‘ lewdness’ could occur-
on the same page as a ‘seat for prayer’
Is beyond the workings of my tiny brain!
‘The God of procreation – Priapos,’ here it says –
The origin of the word. “Ah! A God !”
My sense of righteousness restored;
Not a pretext to prove my innocence;
Just a humble request, “Please do not read
between the lines and call me presumptuous”
While I am still here at the game
It is certainly not my aim –
to use double entendres.
Its this page that is to blame , ‘doing the mischief,’ I must say
So let’s move on to something more pleasant
“Greener pastures,” as you’d say.
‘Pretzels’ and ‘pretty pretty’
One from Germany and the other from Britain
Why in the world
Did I not see these words before?
Anyways, while we are still at it
Here are a few more-
To end this game on a sweeter note
And forget what I said earlier
about Priapos and all
Umm… ‘prickly poppy,’ ‘prickly pear‘
and ‘prickly heat’; “Oh my, its not getting any better, is it?”
“That’s it! Better stop and end it here, with Prima Ballerina!”
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