Daily Archives: February 13, 2017

Dictionary Gloss: the E’s

ebullient exuberant, bubbling over with high spirits

Beware the fool, whose loud ebullient laugh
jumps back and forth, like a cracked phonograph.
It’s not a truly happy sign at all;
more like the echo of a cattle call.

éclat conspicuous success, general applause or acclaim, elaborate display

Most public piety, with grand éclat,
convinces fools, while real saints turn away.

ectoplasm a substance supposed to be exuded from a spiritual medium during a trance

we paid our fifty dollars for a reading,
but got no ectoplasm, despite pleading.

emolument a fee received, a salary

What great emolument my service earned
in living costs and taxes was soon burned.

encomium high praise given in speech or writing

Leave off encomium, my cheering thralls;
hard cash seems much more useful, after all.

endogenous growing or originating from within

true moral strength, they say,
must be endogenous;
receiving it through discipline,
it dodges us.

ennui boredom

If you would fight ennui, don’t overtire,
else you just bore yourself ’til you expire.

equivocal able to be interpreted in two ways, ambiguous

Yes, truth and guilt can often seem
equivocal – part fact, part scheme –
designed to trick us from both sides
and leave chaos where they collide.

ersatz serving as a substitute, especially of an inferior kind

Wise men and fools alike believe
themselves led by the truth in things.
One sees a world that cannot be,
while one accepts an ersatz king.

euphemism a mild or roundabout expression substituted for one considered improper or too harsh or blunt

Don’t shuffle on or pass away,
give up the ghost or fade to gray.
Let euphemisms such as these
just die, expire and soon decease.

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Imagining the Cost: common measure

For those hard up against the wall,
imagining the cost
they pay for each small victory,
compared to what is lost,

when those who may yet stand
refuse and meekly kneel,
or worse, just fold their praying hands
against reason’s appeal,

may be the hardest part.
What honor is enough,
to heal such wounds as these,
succor the sterner stuff,

when those you fight to free:
the so-called meek and mild,
deride your vanity
and chide you as a child

to put away your swords,
and fight no more anon,
since all that’s clean and good
has long been dead and gone.

13 FEB 2017

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