The assignment was to take the number of pets you or someone you know has times twenty-five, go to that page in the dictionary, count down to the seventeenth entry in the left-hand column and write a poem on the word you find there. It turned out to be more challenging than I thought.
I guess I thought with two dictionaries
Finding a very appropriate word
Based on the number of dogs, canaries,
Kittens or gerbils I have in my herd
Would not cause fear, strain, stress, dread, or fuss.
It sounded so easy, a piece of cake.
But it’s made me one quivering cuss.
My brow is furrowed and my gray cells ache.
The truth is, I have no animal friends,
But Beth and Ken and Hayden do have three
And so rather than try to make amends
For ignoring the assignment, you see,
I would do just as Suzanne suggested –
Take their three canines times five and twenty
And then as I my big meal digested
Find the right page among words aplenty,
Down the left column, counting seventeen.
In the American Heritage book
I had an experience unforeseen.
Aghast, appalled I took another long look
But my eyes though old had not been deceived.
Three hours later, still deeply in shock,
I looked once more and had not misconceived.
That word, O, alas it rhymed with “a sock.”
Could be a hat worn atilt and jaunty
Or a gun trigger, pulled, ready to fire
But some prudes might deem the word quite naughty,
And pummel me with prudish ire.
I sensed my spare book of definitions
Would have a nicer word correctly placed.
But they’re never right, my premonitions,
And the word I found was in such bad taste
That, astounded, I just threw up my hands
When I spotted the nasty “battle-ax:”
“A domineering old woman.” My lands.
I don’t know any. And them’s the facts.
Or at least the facts to which I’ll admit,
Surrounded by gals here old and older,
Who hate “battle-ax” and will throw fit
Should I say it. But wait till I get bolder.