Simply Words (a Poetic Essay)

Looking at these shelves of books
I realize I have always taken
For granted, that each one is
Filled with words intended to
Convey some helpful meaning.
Psychoneuroimmunology, over
One thousand one hundred twenty
Pages exploring the relationship
Between brain, behavior, and
Immunity . . . And I wonder why
It seems so hard to find the right
Word. And then I ask myself,
Though I already know the answer,
Are they simply words?
⸻Or are they life?

In Hart’s Composition and Rhetoric,
Published in 1883, one reads,

Any verbal expression of thought, even
In its lowest and plainest forms,
Brings us within the domain of
Grammar. But, beyond the bare
Expression of meaning, we can
Conceive of it as being uttered
Awkwardly or elegantly, plainly or
Figuratively, concisely or diffusely,
And in a great variety of other ways;

A shape, or sound, a symbol of meaning
They change and multiply as we evolve.
Like poetry, there is no limit to their form.

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