, , , ,


This one’s for you, Mrs. Chapman.

An escolar inesculent eructed at the table.
An elocutionist by calling, erumpent and most
erudite, the escolar exceptional eschewed
essential themes of ethics and economy,
ejaculating most effectively on eschatology.

If you could just elutriate, he said,
all thoughts of ‘ell and ‘eaven,
allow that moon’s evections
can effect (sic) the evenest
of minds, that evidence
and etymons empiricized
empoison some and others
elevate, I think you’d find
you would elude most fears
of death and end. Such
evanescent notions would
evapotranspirate, and you,
my friend, would fast evaginate—
like socks! And newly inside
out, you would experience
ecstatic, though I’ll grant you,
embryonic, new emergences
sans effort, sans unease.


This bit of free verse nonsense (with perhaps some hidden sense) began with my looking up an E word in Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate, © 1965, for something completely unrelated. I love older dictionaries because they hadn’t yet eliminated obsolete words and meanings to accommodate the notion of a dumbed down readership. The first Collegiate came out in 1898, and I’ll bet that one was even more fabulous!

Here is a loosely defined prose version of “E Words”.

An inedible fish resembling a mackerel belched at the table. A public speaker, bursting forth with learning, this very special fish tended to avoid topics of ethics and economy. Most of his utterances were about the end of the world.

“If you could just purify by washing out all thoughts of hell and heaven; accept that orbital disturbances of the moon can affect any of us; allow that observation and experience, proof, and word derivations will make some people bitter and others feel fantastic, I think you’d shake off most fears of termination and dying. Those flimsy notions would evaporate, they’d be pulled out, and you, my friend, will be turned inside out, like socks! While this new outlook may feel awkward at first, you’re going to enjoy fresh and glorious experiences, free of all struggle and worry.”

© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Image: Mackerel on Stone, artwork by Peter Gander