I haven’t written poetry in a long time. But I didn’t have an idea for my first post of the month either, and so I am including another poem I wrote years ago.
The poem came about because I like dictionaries. I think words mean something. Occasionally I scratch my head, and wonder why, in society, we use the words which we do. Etymology fascinates me.
One day when I was in the checkout line at a store, and the magazines were all lined up on either side, placed there to tempt their purchase, I saw one . . . and the title of it gave me one of those mental weird-outs. You know, when you see a word you have seen a million times, and this time, your brain stumbles on it. It sounds strange. The spelling is foreign. The meaning is running away from you as you desperately try to grasp the fleeing group of letters. You look again at the word. You sound it out. It just doesn’t feel right. The impression the word leaves with you is one of strange unfamiliarity.
When that happens to me, the next opportunity I have to grab the dictionary, I do it. I look the word up. I look at the origins. Where did it come from? What words is it related to? What does it really mean?
Let me know . . . Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever had your brain trip over a common, everyday word?
I hope you like the poem.
the fast lane
It’s where things are happening,
where people take pride in what they do,
and in what they think they are
It’s position, prestige, and luxury,
the executive suite,
and their cars reflect their lifestyles
It’s being rich,
it’s an image . . .
It’s a lifeless countenance . . .
It’s being poor,
and their faces reflect their lusts
The solitary confinement cell
It’s bondage, slavery, and darkness,
in what they really are
Where people lose their choice, by what they’ve done
It’s where souls are dying,
the fast lane to hell
and crisping pins.
stretched forth necks,
and outward lies.
Daron D. Fraley
January 16, 1991