Friday, March 8, 2013

The Power of Short Words

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

Than length.

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."

Ephesians 4:29



  1. What a beautiful poem! Thank you for sharing, Rachel! I really like the verse too- it is such a good reminder. Blessings! ~GMOV (Rosie) :-)

  2. I wasn't able to understand the poem as much as I'd like to, but the verse made it more understandable. :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. @Rosie - hi! :) What a surprise to see your comment! :) thanks for it! Glad you stopped by!

    @Esther - yes, the poem is a bit harder to understand, but I like how it shows that little words can say a lot more than you think! If you want a challenge, try reading out loud! It's hard, for me at least.


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And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”Colossians 3:17 (NIV)