Playful Words

Like children’s brightly painted blocks 
Words build the world we see
They can alter our perceptions 
Tell us how things are meant to be.
The way we understand our words
Defines just who we are
Because we mould ourselves to meet
Their definition’s bar. 

Some words are true derivatives
Taken from other words
Our values they take with them
In repeating what we’ve heard.
Words can be abbreviations as in
‘Car’ and ‘hippo’ and ‘mam’
Or they might even be acronyms like
‘Scuba’, ‘laser’ and ‘spam’.

The power of a word can raise us up
Or bring us down
Can free us or enslave us
Be our shackles or our crown.
How we define their meanings
Changes how ourselves we see
We can play and pick our own
Give words new history.

So let’s grow words from other words
Their meanings modified 
Let us have ‘pullovers’ made from ‘love’
And ‘unbridled’ formed from ‘bride’.
And let us carve new meaning from
Words with a greater span 
So ‘unavowed’ could give us ‘wed’
And ‘womanliness’ bring forth ‘man’.

E.M. Swift-Hook

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