The Cure for Fancy Words

In response to Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poem using oodles of impressive words, I offer the experience of Ben Franklin, an episode that led to deep contrition, when he tried to show himself wise. My apologies if you’ve read this before.

At one point in Ben Franklin’s youth he became enchanted with impressive-sounding words. One day he told his mother, “I’ve imbibed an acephalous mollusc.”

She gasped. Thinking he’d eaten some poison she promptly dosed him with a foul-tasting concoction that made him vomit. The poor boy retched for hours. Once his stomach was settled again, he told his mother all he’d done was eaten an oyster.

“You naughty boy, scaring the wits out of me like that!” And she gave him a good thrashing.

He says this experience cured him of his liking for pomposity; that day he decided he’d never again use fancy words when simple ones would do.

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Ben Franklin Smarts & Smartens

Oh, Those Fancy Words

Once upon a writing prompt, we were given a new word to write a poem about. For some words it’s pretty tough to come up with anything really sensible, so here’s my offering for the word fletcherize, which means to reduce (food) to tiny particles especially by prolonged chewing. Almost ruins your appetite, doesn’t it?

What is this new word fletcherize?
It brings no vision to my eyes;
its purpose I can’t crystalize;
all sense of rhythm it defies.

A word that is so obdurate,
with sounds that cannot resonate
a poet true will obviate
for fear that it would obfuscate.

A Love of Pomposity

At one point in his youth Ben Franklin became enchanted with impressive-sounding words. One day he felt really wise as he announced to his mother, “I’ve imbibed an acephalous mollusc.”

She gasped. Thinking he’d eaten some poison she promptly dosed him with a foul-tasting concoction that made him vomit. The poor boy retched for hours. Once his stomach was settled again, he told his mother all he’d done was eaten an oyster.

“You naughty boy, scaring the wits out of me like that!” And she gave him a good thrashing.

He says this experience cured him of his tendency to show off his wisdom. That day he decided he’d never again use fancy-sounding words when simple ones would do.

Reblogged from christinecomposes.com — January 25, 2014