The Power of Short Words
by Joseph Addison Alexander
(This poem was written using short words - in fact, they are all one-syllable words!)
Think not that strength lies in the big round word,
Or that the brief and plain must needs be weak.
To whom can this be true who once has heard
The cry for help, the tongue that all men speak
When want or woe or fear is in the throat,
So that each word gasped out is like a shriek
Pressed from the sore heart, or a strange, wild note
Sung by some fay or fiend? There is a strength
Which dies if stretched too far or spun too fine,
Which has more height than breadth, more depth
Let but this force of thought and speech be mine,
And he that will may take the sleek fat phrase,
Which glows and burns not, though it gleam and shine;
Light, but not heat—a flash, but not a blaze!
Nor mere strength is it that the short word boasts:
It serves of more than fight or storm to tell—
The roars of waves that clash on rock bound coasts,
The crash of tall trees when the wild winds swell,
The roar of guns, the groans of men that die
On blood stained fields. It has a voice as well
For them that far off on their sick-beds lie,
For them that weep, for them that mourn the dead;
For them that laugh, and dance, and clap the hand.
To Joy’s quick step as well as Grief’s slow tread,
The sweet, plain words we learn at first keep time;
And though the theme be sad or gay or grand,
With each, with all, these may be made to chime,
In thought or speech or song, in prose or rhyme.
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."