Grandmother was a lexophile, erudite and bossy.
She said that I was malapert when she meant I was saucy.
She sat astride her horse for she was loath to simply straddle it,
and she “installed her pillion.” She didn’t merely saddle it!

Every sentence that we spoke required mediation.
Nothing was radioactive. It “emitted radiation!”
Cannibals weren’t maneaters, but rather “anthropophages,”
and prom dates brought us sprays of roses, not merely corsages!

Her mania for polite words was nothing less than ludicrous.
When dealing with the birds and bees, “womb” subbed for the word uterus.
Gentlemen had “members,” for their penises were banished—
“boobs” and “knockers” terms for bosoms that somehow had vanished.

It seems she put small value in words that spoke directly,
for it was more important that we chose words correctly.
Dictionaries were her Bibles, and they had the final word
when we used terminology that Grandma found absurd.


Prompt words for the day are straddle, radioactive, ludicrous, contumely and maneater.

13 thoughts on “Well-Spoken

  1. Anonymous

    I hope that my mentioning the color of your nail polish did not bring this on~!!,,, but we are both growing old and times do change, as does our language, mostly the Colloquial being the fastest, with those old smart-ass comments coming out of me at unusual times. Did you know that the fasted evolution on earth is actually language~? Which your poem made me think about.

    I have been spending time over in “the barn” (guest house), straightening it up for the house guest it will have for about a month or more… One thing that looked rather dilapidated was “My Dad’s Old Trunk” So here is what I wrote about those memories. And my Dad’s old trunk stays right where it is, because it brings a smile on my face~!!!



    1. lifelessons Post author

      I don’t think my poem had anything to do with your nailpolish comments, but who knows how those words and thoughts are brewed from within? I commented on your poem in your comments…


  2. Martha Kennedy

    This is timely. I recently read an article in a magazine I subscribe to. There was a little article at the end that had a really egregious sentence in it (it was overall really poorly written). The author said that the river was “infested with trout.” It was (marginally) plausible that she hated trout, but that wasn’t the tone and context of the whole paragraph. I wanted to slap her and yell, “OK write your solipsistic over-written rhapsodic drivel but for the love of God; words have meanings you brainless twat!” I spared her that, but I did write a letter to the editor…


      1. Martha Kennedy

        It really takes a lot to get me there, but bad writing just really gets in my craw. I guess 38 years of teaching writing and it becomes an occupational hazard. I can put up with a lot, but…


          1. Martha Kennedy

            I can ignore “Him and me.” It just says to me that the person didn’t get much out of school and maybe didn’t have the chance to go. I have a hard time with stuff that’s overwritten and pretentious. I just have this silly idea that writing should make sense and be clear to people. 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.