Keywords: [Number Muse; Poetic Rhythm; Color Chart; Word Play; Synonym Matching]

Fred's Word-Working Corner

I am not a Poet
and I know it!

However ... The subject has fascinated me for a long time. Over the years I used to write sappy poems for retirement parties and family birthdays. They are nothing I want to show anywhere but some recipients were impressed to get them in their honor.

This is my corner where I plan to enter various poetry related thoughts and discussions about words and grammar that have gone through my daily pages. Somehow it seemed appropriate to share them with, hopefully, an interested audience. If you are interested to post a comment here, or rebuttal, just send me an email at the address given on the home page for this site.

The entries are entered in a FIFO format: First-In-First-Out.
Cycle to the bottom to read the latest entry.

Thank you for your interest.

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Key---Match Words Puzzle No.1: 1--c; 2--a; 3--f; 4--b; 5--d; 6--e.

Key---Match Words Puzzle No.2: 1--d; 2--e; 3--a; 4--f; 5--b; 6--c.

Key---Match Words Puzzle No.3: 1--d; 2--f; 3--a; 4--b; 5--c; 6--e.

Key---Match Words Puzzle No.4: 1--e; 2--a; 3--d; 4--b; 5--f; 6--c.

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Nov 23, 2012---Here is a poem I wrote, that I think is worthy to post online. It needs some visibility as it has been sitting in my file cabinet for the past 22 years. It was written in a Creative Writing class, at UMaine, that was taught by Kathleen Ellis in April, 1990.



Numbers in Sequence
are well ordered,
but those out-of-sequence
may be Random.
Is that a consequence?

What about odd numbers
and even ones?
These numbers just alternate,
odd equals even plus one.
That doesn't sound so strange.

Prime numbers, other than two,
must be pretty good.
But they are always odd
and have no other factors.
They have an unclear sequence.

Rational numbers are fractions,
Heaven forbid,
formed by dividing
two ordinary numbers.
They are quite sane.
Irrational numbers, however,
have fractional parts
of infinite length.
Some are called Transcendental.
Are they insane?

The Transcendentals
are numbers of Nature.
They contain no factors
and are not Prime.
Are they worthy of Awe?

As more is learned
about the Universe,
we find Nature's numbers
Are such numbers good for Meditation?

The simple number system
is full of mysteries.
Do the names and types
of numbers reflect
the Number Inventor's Intentions?
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Currently I have met and enjoy knowing a few real-life poets in addition to my sister, Alice. Some poet friends are dead but they wrote poetry that is enjoyed long past their lifetime. One is Emerson, who said, in his essay, The Poet:

For poetry was all written before time was ...

This quote being from the book: Emerson's Essays: The First and Second Series introduced by Andrew J. George and published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Co, NY, in 1926.

Dave Morrison's website: Dave Morrison, is a place where you can meet him online and check out the books he has published. He retired to Maine in 2011 to pursue a desire to become a full-time poet. I met him at a reading at the Bangor Public library where I bought and read his Clubland which was featured that night. This collectiion proved to be absorbing poetry where I was able to feel the highs and the lows of the club music scene. Reading Dave's poetry provides an engrossing, realistic, experience as it makes you feel right there with the band as the night drags on.

Anne Bowman's blog: Anne Bowman, is where you can meet Anne and read her regular examples of good writing. I met Anne in 2003, in the Sebasticook Valley Community Band, which met at Nokomis Regional High Scool. Anne is a fan of Oyster Band and travels anywhere East of the Mississippi to hear and watch them perform. On this site you can find listings for her poetry publications. Anne is a trumpet-playing English-teacher poet single-parent carpenter biker and is a virtual dynamo with all that she manages to accomplish. One of her unique accomplishments is to have published in different journals for each of the 50 states. Another of her interesting deeds is having inspired her high school students to actually enjoy reading, and talking about, poetry. She accomplished that singular feat by starting each class with 'the poem of the day'. Lists of these poems, for each month, can be found on her impressive blog.

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Dec 7, 2012---Being an engineer, for all of my working life, the technical aspect of rhythm always fascinated me. Most of my life I had a naive point-of-view about the subject as I never got very far past iambic pentameter. Recently, however, that situation changed as I read a most revealing book about the subject. Actually the theory of rhythm came as a surprise for I thought I bought the book to read about better writing technique. The book, entitled: Next Word, Better Word: The Craft of Writing Poetry, is written by Stephen Dobyns and published by Palgrave MacMillan, NY, in 2011. It was the book's final Chapter 13, The Nature of Metaphor, that originally attracted me to buy it. [You can learn all you want about this poet by Googling his name.] Long before the subject of metaphor, however, the author led me into a consideration of complexity of rhythm with his Chapter 4: Aspects of the Syllable. There he started using words I had never heard; such as 'spondee', 'pyrrhic', and others in addition to the common 'iamb'.

It turns out there is a multitude of poetic feet out there as, apparently, my early teachers in life were hiding it from me. Following is a table of two and three syllable feet that I constructed from online information at Wikipedia.

 Disyllables Trisyllables
 ~ ~ Pyrrhus, Dibrach ~ ~ ~ Tribrach
 ~ ^ Iamb ~ ~ ^ Anapest, AntiDactylus
 ^ ~ Trochee, Choree ~ ^ ~ Amphibrach
 ^ ^ Spondee ~ ^ ^ Bacchius
   ^ ~ ~ Dactyl
   ^ ~ ^ Cretic, Amphimacer
   ^ ^ ~ AntiBacchius
   ^ ^ ^ Molossus

~ =  Unstressed Syllable; ^ =  Stressed Syllable

When I studied this table of common feet, a thought crossed my mind wondering if trisyllable feet are actually used to write poetry.

Note that iambic pentameter has 5x2=10 syllables per line which provides alternating stress. If we used four amphibrach feet per line we would have 4x3=12 syllables. That is not too different from the ten syllables of iambic pentameter. Four amphibrach feet would be `amphibrachic tetrameter' with four stressed and eight unstressed syllables per line.

Now I never heard of such a rythmn but a quick check on Google showed that it is indeed a popular style.

Wikipedia says it is a common in Russian poetry. A trick they often use to break the rhythm, or to create space, is to substitute an iamb for an amphibrach at the end of a line.

Then, also, Irish limericks use both amphibrachic or anapestic feet with strict rhyming, aabba, for the verse.

It's a popular, and entertaining rhythm.

I thought I was asking for something that didn't exist and stumbled on whole fields of different poetry.

Following is a limerick example---for fun.

The limerick packs laughs anatomical
In space that is quite economical,
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Now I recall reading a book of limericks written by Isaac Asimov years ago. It featured limericks made up in a pub, as much ale was consumed while the contestants took turns making up and reciting their freshly minted verse.

It was bawdy and funny---which is the common understanding about limericks in general.

Well, that amphibrach led me a good deal off course here but it was a fun while it lasted.

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Dec 26, 2012.---Sometime ago I finished an interesting puzzle, in the book of NY Times puzzles, and thought it would make an interesting list of color definitions for artists to appreciate. The theme of the puzzle was:

Palettable by John Dreyer

This puzzle had 'shades' of difficulty here and there, but everywhere it's eminently fair, to quote the editor: Gene Maleska.

An example is the obscure answer for the clue, 25. BLUE, which worked out to be: 'RUBBERLIMBEDCOMIC', someone I had never heard of before doing this puzzle.

Another was, 65. PINK, which came out to be: 'CUTFABRIC'.

All this inspired me to make the following color chart for artists.


These are clever and I thought they needed to be documented for posterity. Using these definitions coupled with the rules for mixing colors you can create some original combinations. For example, Orange, a mix of Red and Yellow tells us that a 'Semi-Tropical Fruit is a mixture of a Disciple of Lenin with Cowardice'; or Green, a mixture of Blue with Yellow shows that a 'Putting Green is a mixture of a Sad Heart with Cowardice'.

None of these examples are very likely but they are interesting to consider. It's strange, when you think of it, how our language, for something so basic as color, is fraught with multiple meaning. It's bad enough that it is not always possible to know what someone else is talking about.

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Jan 1, 2013---Another aspect of those NY Times puzzles is that they have a plethora of words that you have no idea what they mean. The only way to work them, without using Google, is to fill them in from crossing words. Some of the words might as well be foreign language as they are not in my working vocabulary. In order to try and remember them, in case I need them in a later puzzle, I circle them on the page. It's an attempt at association with the new word in order to enhance its recall at a later time. I have to say, that procedure generally does not work very well.

Not knowing these enabled me to recall a regular newspaper puzzle, from my youth, that was called something like: Check your IQ. This self-test involved two word columns which had to be reordered in matching pairs. My dim memory says there used to be about 10 words in each column and so your test result went something like; 9--10, Superior; 7--8, Above Average; 4--6, Average; Less than 4, Below Average.

Recently, as I was cleaning off my desk, I discovered a pile of saved puzzle books with the circled words. The discovery prompted me to make a matching puzzle using these obscure words as a challenge to any readers that care to give them a try. If there is someone out there who thinks they are a snap, please let me know and I will put up a harder set. The following table is an example of some of these words used to make a matching puzzle. Just pair the words in the second column to the words given in the first column. The answer is at the top of this page. Due to the perceived difficulty of the words, there are only 6 words to this puzzle. I think if you get more than two correct, without online help, then you are above average, at least based upon my experience.

Match Words   PUZZLE NO.1
1. Ament   a. Demon
2. Dybbuk   b. Erst
3. Senega   c. Idiot
4. Whilom   d. Stole
5. Armilla   e. Bald
6. Pilgoric   f. Snakeroot

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Good Luck!

The second column words are pretty average, but the synonyms, in Column 1, are not commonly used in your average crossword puzzle.

Match Words   PUZZLE NO.2
1. Bolus   a. Fin
2. Cahier   b. Extract
3. Pinna   c. Morpheme
4. Inkle   d. Pill
5. Educe   e. Report
6. Etymon   f. Linen Tape

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I thought about putting the answer somewhere in one of the art sites so you could look around for it and see some of the art work but I relented. It is good enough that anyone might come here just for these word puzzles.

This set of rare words is from the 52 NY Times Sunday Crosswords puzzles. In addition, I am only using Englsih words that also are defined in my old Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

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The long lapse in entrys, everywhere on my blog, was due to taking another art classs the past semester. That was from January until May and then I have been involved with catching up on my lost life. So, ......, finally, here is another puzzle to puzzle upon. Due to the fact that my Webster is so old, and dry, I have decided I have to allow the use of the online free dictionary, or Wikipedia, to be the arbiters for allowable words for these match-up puzzles. Webster is no fun and certainly not the basis for the NY Times Crossword editors.

Match Words   PUZZLE NO.3
1. Kier   a. Obtuse
2. Larid   b. Beaver Skin
3. Boeotian   c. Squirrel Nest
4. Plew   d. Drying Vat
5. Drey   e. Apparition
6. Eidolon   f. Gull

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The other day, as I was editing my Daily Pages Journal, I came upon the following comments I wrote about some cartoons that I had saved and entered in the journal for discusison.

Two Funnies
Too Funny
To Forget

At that moment, of discovery, the thought ran through my mind that, unbeknownst to me I had inadvertently written an Haiku. Subsequent checking, in The Po-e-try Dic-tion-ar-y, by John Drury, revealed that no, it was not a Haiku on at least two counts: the lines did not fit the required 5-7-5 syllable counts, plus, it does not satisfy the basic requirement that one line should refer to a Season of Nature. So there we have the lesson for today!

It turns out that any other three line attempt is referred to as a senryu (sen-ree-yoo). How about that? I wrote a 'senryu' and did not even know it.

Also some other time, recently, I made up an anagram using what describes me, (ECE for Electrical Computer Engineer), and what I want to do (PAINT). What is the resulting anagram? The answer is buried somewhere in my Art 2012 blog

Here now, at last, is another Match-up Puzzle to give you yet another one to test your wits. All the words are from my special inventory of NY Crossword Puzzle words that I have encountered in recent years.

Match Words   PUZZLE NO.4
1. Ixia   a. Milkweed
2. Arsis   b. Blue Shade
3. Cire'   c. Wink
4. Bice   d. Glaze Finish
5. Preterit   e. Corn Lily
6. Nictitate   f. Tense

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Dec.20, 2013---I am derelict in keeping up with these pages!! The past five months have sped by with nary a thought about doing anything worth entering. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I know it is not good for regular followers but, still, I did not get around to figuring out a suitable next entry. I was involved with the concert season and other busy stuff.

One thing that occupied my thought is that I spent a lot of time trying to solve the following anagram:

Find unique integers for each letter in the phrase: (LOVE)*(IS)=BLIND.

This is an algebraic formulation and there are two solutions, and if I remember, I will post them in here somewhere someday. [Note: * represents a multiply operation.] Meanwhile, if you get an answer, you could email me to let me know. Maybe we can come up with a prize of some sort. [One of my paintings? I am trying to clean out the junk.]

I finished reading The Po-e-try Dic-tion-ar-y and wonder how many of my poet friends have ever tried to write a poem in a Double Exposure form? Reading this book provided an amazing introduction to the age-old art of poetry. I never knew there were so many precise forms that could be used to write thoughtful poetry.

Another thing that soaked up time, since last July, was trying to solve a design problem for the Match Words puzzles. As I arranged the last puzzle, No.4, it dawned on me that how to assign the answers was a problem if I did not want to repeat them. Then the corrollary question loomed its head asking, ''How many unique assignments are there for the 6 question format?'' It took a lot of work to figure that out and you will be relieved to hear that, with six words and six answers there is not a large number, like Infinity, that provides unique assignment schedules. The problem is complicated by not allowing the answer for the kth word to coincide with the kth answer. Anyway, I will run out of puzzles, or die, before I use up the available number of unique combinations for each puzzle.

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Here is an anagram to ponder. It came from, surprise!, a New York Times crossword puzzle.

What is a seven letter word for: a 151-move chess game?

The answer is in the section about my chess art at the end of the ART 2013 Journey.

The answer is obvious when you see it but hard to come up with. Good luck.

A hint would be that the answer is something that everyone worries about.

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This site last updated on Mar 8, 2014