Poem 154 – A Literary Diet

I’m told we’re what we eat,
If so, I’m made of words.
My mum discovered this
On catching me red-handed,
The soggy contents page
Of the Oxford Dictionary
Left mushed between my jowls.
It seems I am comprised
Of definitions and vowels.

My limbs are formed of nouns
Like leg and arm and elbow.
Elbow is one of my favourites.
Say it slow. El-bow.
How satisfying it is
To wrap your tongue around
It’s form, enunciate
It carefully and full,
Admire its letter form.

Then there are the others,
Obscure and strangely named,
Like supercillium,
And islets of Langerhans.
I learnt of them at school,
But haven’t mentioned them,
Again until the present.
Turns out such beautiful words,
Can never be unlearnt.

But nouns are not the whole
Of me, I’m also made
Of verbs like dream and think,
And leap and hesitate,
Gesticulate and frown,
Digest, impress, caress,
And rest, oh yes, let’s rest
Our tired nouns a while
And let the verbs address.

Or better still send out
Our adverbs, illumination
Their one and only role.
They slyly, kindly find
A motivation for me.
Swiftly, powerfully, patiently,
Reveal me. Show what lies
Hid deep within me. Yes,
It’s true. I’m made from words.

True story, I was discovered as a little one, eating a dictionary! Reminiscing got me thinking about language, and how our understanding of the world and ourselves is framed by it.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 86 – WORDLE

Infuriating TEASE!
This DAILY challenge comes,
Made out of thirty BOXES,
In six rows, each a GUESS,
With five letters to SPELL,
The word concealed BELOW,
And BOAST of victory.
Which word will you try FIRST,
And hope they all turn GREEN?
If not and SPACE permits,
Go WRITE another one!
However, if the FINAL,
BLOCK is filled and you’ve,
Not got it RIGHT, it is,
Too late you’ve lost Wordle.

Late to the game, I’ve discovered the daily fun/torment of the game Wordle, where you have to deduce the day’s five-letter word. Writing this, got me wondering why the creator opted for the name WORDLE when that has six letters. Odd.

© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 82 – The Magic Word

You’re wrong to say magic does not exist
How do I know? I’ve seen it for myself
I’ve seen it in the power of verse to change
An outlook with a skillful choice of words
A clever phrase or metaphor provokes
New meaning formerly concealed, unknown
Whilst written symbols move knowledge across
Invisible mind bridges out of view
Bold stories pluck our eyes, transplanting them
Imagination thus breeds empathy
Whilst in the theatre players exercise
Surgery, switching hearts and souls
So hesitate before inscribing views
Articulate your words aloud with caution
They’re incantations not just spoken sounds
True magic not fantastic fabrication


© Ben Quant 2022

Poem 53 – The Word on the Street (Pt.2)

The word on the street is a miracle
Powerful to transform and inform us
But despite this remarkable talent
It’s imprecise and prone to accident,
Misinterpretation and confusion
That is why when God communicated
It wasn’t through email, text or post but
Gift wrapped in human form, relatable
His Son became flesh and dwelt among us
Born in a manger, the Word on the street

Words are wonderful things. When you think what they are, just abstract sounds or marks on the page, it’s astonishing that they work at all, but they do and in stunning and moving ways. But they’re not perfect, we’ve all experienced miscommunication when we thought what we said made sense and was clear… Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for Christmas.

© Ben Quant 2021

Poem 52 – Word on the Street

The word on the street is a miracle
So common it goes unnoticed, hidden
In plain sight, plain text, undercover
It’s underrated, abused but profound
This simple tool is anything but, requiring
Magical transformation to turn thoughts
Into sounds, into squiggles, on the page
On the wall, on the screen and then in reverse
From squiggle, to sound, to brain, with meaning
Transferred and transposed from one to another
So recipient and creator can
Comprehend the same meaning, sharing thought

This poem arose whilst printing out my thesis in preparation for my viva later this month. The process of seeing the words on the screen becoming words on printed paper, set of a train of thought. There may well be a partner piece tomorrow, as the thought didn’t stop there.

© Ben Quant 2021