The Duke of Diction

Oh, Thesaurus,
may your name be sung
in the great halls of every library.

May you never be confused
with paltry Theseus who couldn’t
raise the right flag,

whereas you,
mighty Thesaurus,
fix our red flags for us.

Oh, Thesaurus,
lifesaver to all young Jedi writers
trying to wield the word force.
Lend us your omni-voice,

Duke of Diction.
Give us your greatest gift:
unlimited word choice.

© khartless 2022, All Rights Reserved


d’Verse celebrates National Thesaurus Day with a choice poem assignment about the Thesaurus.

I remembered from my primary teaching days that today is the anniversary of lexicographer Peter Mark Roget’s birthday. My young students enjoyed the illustrated biography of his life, The Right Word, whose cover is featured on this post.

In childhood, Roget loved making lists and found that lists of words helped him to cope with the shyness and awkwardness he felt throughout his life. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a doctorate at the age of 19 and went on to write extensively his entire life. He finished his “Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified” in 1852 with 15,000 words. Amazing!

Artwork: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

70 Comments

    1. Thank you kindly, Rob. I was so proud to work Star Wars into this one, and I admit this past Sunday, I watched one of the originals with my son (his first time), so a galaxy far, far away has been on my brain. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you Ain. Busy class load today, but I’ll make it through this evening to read more tales of thesaurus’ greatness. I appreciate your kind comments very much.

      Like

      1. K, I watched a good movie last year about the efforts it took to create the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and tried to relate it to Roget. Here’s a blurb lifted from imdb about that movie:
        “Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century, and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr. William Minor.” The title of the movie is, “The Professor and the Madman.”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, they’re both heroes in my book. ☺️Seems the both slay monsters, the titles one in our kinda, and both unlock labyrinths, but in very separate ways, of course.

      Like

      1. Wowser, hate is a strong word. He killed many a bully saving countless lives. Ariadne ended up with Dionysus, not a bad turn of events, and he proved himself time and time again to be cunning and resourceful. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

        Like

      2. The killings that littered his path as he made his way to claim his inheritance might not have been more than stories to strengthen his claim. And there are many different versions of what happened to Ariadne most of them excuses to let Theseus off the hook. The only common element is that she was supposed to go back with Theseus to Athens but never got further than Naxos, the limit of Cretan territory. Theseus had killed her brother and conquered Knossos, he didn’t need her any more.
        I like to think she jumped ship because she’d got the measure of the ‘hero’ she’d given herself to. Just my interpretation, of course. You’re not going to make me like him 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh come now, he killed monsters that were terrifying and killing thousands: a list that’s impressive as well as liberating to so many people. Heroes are often chauvinistic, especially in a time where that’s the norm, but just think of it, he could have saved a distant relative of yours in his quests, thereby being the source of your very existence. A wild thought, but seeing as he saved so many from the clutches of monsters, you and I could be here because of him. (I don’t like him either, but I just really enjoy this conversation).

        Like

      4. You sound a bit like Boris Johnson 🙂 Actually, for me it’s a toss up between Theseus and Perseus for the biggest gobshite of them all. It’s easy to see why the Greek myths were so popular. What role models for us all!

        Like

  1. This is absolutely stunning 😀 I especially love; “May you never be confused with paltry Theseus who couldn’t raise the right flag.” Yes! 💝💝

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s