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About this Poem 

"The poem began with the title. Then I was annoyed by one of the occasional poetry-is-dead articles. Then I refute that notion."
—Thomas Lux

Onomatomania

Thomas Lux, 1946


the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances.
I accept that language
can be manipulated towards deceit
(ex.: The Mahatmapropaganda, i.e., Goebbels);
I accept, and mourn, though not a lot,
the loss of the dash/semi-colon pair.
It’s the sound of a pause unlike no other pause.
And when the words are tedious
and tedious also their order—sew me up
in a rug and toss me in the sea!
Language is dying, the novel is dying, poetry
is a corpse colder than the Ice Man,
they’ve all been dying for thousands of years,
yet people still write, people still read,
and everyone knows that nothing is really real
until it is written.
Until it is written!
Even those who cannot read
know that.

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Lux. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 7, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Lux. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 7, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux is the author of several books of poetry, including To the Left of Time (Mariner Books, 2016) and New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

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