Wednesday, February 05, 2014

More Words To Fathom

By Sharon Flitterman-King

Words grow out of words
I fathom that—
  from the Indo-European root
  word pet: To spread

As in “length of two arms
stretched out.”
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes
But wait, there’s more:
the Latin patere to be open
  comes from pet
  As in patent and clear
    and open
to understanding

Or the Latin pandere
  to spread out, in
  expand, the possibilities
of fathom
the word

Related to the beautiful
  petal, from the Greek
  petalon, from pet

    a leaf, whose loveliness
    often I cannot

Then there’s paella and pan
  also from pet, in the
  Greek patane, or
  “thing spread out”

So let’s eat and drink
  to words—
  as we fathom them

Nothing of him that does fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich
  and strange

the fathomless tempest
of words.

--For Claudia

Sharon Flitterman-King, PhD, lives with her husband in Hillsdale, New York. She is the author of "A Secret Star," among other works.


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