“Abate, abash, abet, abstemious”
Began my word list from the seventh grade:
Ten words from which each week our syllabus
Required us to learn, and we obeyed.
Our teacher, Mr. Harlow, seemed so stern
And we all thought the task so burdensome,
Being quizzed each week on all we’d had to learn,
Oblivious to whom we could become
By virtue of such virtuosity—
In my case now, a poet and professor,
Endowed well with a rich vocabulary,
Useful as a scholar and a jester.
For even in light verse, to turn a phrase
With nimbleness and grace may earn one praise.