for Jacques Harlow
“Abash, abate, abet, abstemious . . .”
Began the list of words in seventh grade
We had to know and put in sentences,
And by year’s end we had a whole parade
Of nouns and verbs, adverbs and adjectives
To march our minds into the larger sphere
Of consciousness that ample language gives,
Where things un-thought before could now appear.
Which makes me wonder what ideas yet
Remain incognizant to me for lack
Of terms my curiosity would abet
And keep my freighted line of thought on track.
So, unabashed, I’ll not abate my quest
Nor be abstemious to find the best.