Thursday, March 15, 2007
This week’s prompt is to select a random word that is unfamiliar, and define it through a poem. The definition is a made up one; based on one’s own intuition of the word’s meaning. To find a word I opened up the dictionary to two random pages and wrote down the words I didn’t know. I found this way: firkin, fisc, podesta, pogonia, poilu, poincian, poind. The word I chose was pogonia, partly for the sound of it, and partly because, by sheer coincidence it falls in the dictionary right after poetry. Here is my offering.
Poetry in Paradise
The day is hot and humid.
The air hangs heavily over the plaza.
A church bell tolls the noon hour.
Enter the stranger.
Pale skin and freckles mark him as foreign.
As does the phrase book he carries.
He approaches the lone on-looker,
A woman lounging over a cigarette in a café.
He struggles with the language.
“Senorita, donde esta la Playa Santa?”
Lifting a languid hand, she points.
“There. Towards Pogonia.”
Her English is perfect.
Relieved, he thanks her and continues.
Santa Isabel resumes its siesta.
I am traveling to Puerto Rico in two days. This clearly guided my use of Spanish and references to the tropics. The actual definition of pogonia is:
Any of a genus (Pogonia) of terrestrial orchids of the North Temperate Zone. They have terminal solitary flowers with a crested lip.
Definition found in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 1948. I’ve had this dictionary since I was a kid. It has a lot of memories attached to it.