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“To indulge in hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian tergiversation is not to show your erudition: rather, it is to be superficial.” —Steven George Krantz

Thalamic tarantism
Led to tachyphagia…
Ventripotential schism,
Perhaps a slight dysphasia?

My nudiustertian hike 
Featured pogonotomy.
This mumpsimus is like
A walking botched lobotomy.

Hippopotomonstro-
sesquipedalianism,
It sounds like an animal, though
It’s what every animal isn’t.

It is, in fact, the art of
Tomfoolery by use of
Huge words right at the start of
A game I can’t let loose of.

And so, my greatest woe,
With not a great prognosis,
Is hippopotomonstro-
sesquipedalianosis.

From top to down below
I’m a sad, compunctious sight…
A hippopotomonstro-
sesquipedalianite.

And, yes, I’ve tried to quit it.
I’m beaten and admit it.

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Mike Bryant is a poet and retired plumber living on the Gulf Coast of Texas.


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33 Responses

    • Mike Bryant

      Russel… those words are definitely NOT in my spellcheck… and I ain’t adding ‘em either. Thanks…

      Reply
      • Julian D. Woodruff

        Good thing I wasn’t typing it up!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Julian, never mind typing it up… I’ve heard Mike reading it… beautifully, I might add… he puts all my poetic skills to shame!

      • Russel Winick

        I’ll bet the Bryant household is a lively place for literarily inclined neighbors to hang out!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Russel, there’s only a few rules in the Bryant household. Arrive with a bottle of cheer and a smile, and always speak in rhyming couplets… what could possibly go wrong? 🙂

      Reply
  1. Jeff Eardley

    Mike, this is quite brilliant. It starts to make sense after a quaff or two of good wine.
    All the retired plumbers I know have a job to string a sentence together, never mind anything like this.
    Great stuff and totally bonkers, thank you.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Jeff… I must say that since no one has seen many of these words, or pronounced them, there are actually three stresses, or long syllables per line. I only wish I were tech savvy enough to record the way this ridiculous verse SHOULD be read. Brilliant? Perhaps brilliant nonsense. Thanks… I’ll have a couple of tipples and see if it I can fathom the deeper meanings. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Gail

    Oh dear! I’m not looking up any of these. Using what I know of latin roots to make guesses though.

    Along these same lines, I can recommend ‘Cattus Petasatus’ qui libellus est a Doctore Seuss. The restored classical works beautifully, and we all already know the rhythm. I can’t make it through without laughing to tears, and I don’t–as a habit–drink!

    Reply
  3. Yael

    It’s like a fun little walk on the wacky side. I’m glad you added the audio or I wouldn’t have found my way through it. I’m meeting some of these words for the first time ever.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Yael… I haven’t forgotten about the bluegrass version of ‘The Enemy Within.’ Can’t wait to hear the entire glorious production.
      Susan and I would love to see some bluegrass lyrics posted as poems.

      Reply
  4. Sally Cook

    Susan — My husband used to know an old sailor named
    Edelbert Arnold, whose favorite axiom was
    THE WORLD HAS GONE MAD, and now, — yours has proven it !!
    Where did we find these guys, anyway? If only there were more of them.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Sally, you have nailed it. I’m afraid that Susan has also become a hippomonstro-sesquipedaliaholic. In fact, I’ve composed a new penultimate verse…

      I think I’m turning into, no,
      I’m being hyperbolic,
      A hippopotomonstro-
      sesquipedaliaholic.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dearest Sally, see comments below – as ever, you are absolutely spot on!

      Reply
  5. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Mike, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet. My next poem is Welsh and entitled: Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch 😉

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Nice try… but that’s only the second longest place name in the world. The first is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand. All I have to do is learn Maori. Give me a couple of weeks… x

      Kei te tatari te moana ki ahau,
      I ahau e tatari ana ki a koe.
      mau ahau ki a koe i roto i toku ngakau.
      Aroha ahau ki a koe.

      Reply
    • Gail

      Welsh is completely confounding! Even if you recognize which combinations of letters represent a phoneme, you only pronounce one-third to one-half them. I’m whipped.

      Reply
  6. BRIAN YAPKO

    Mike, this poem is hilarious! I may well need therapy now for my reactivated fear of long words, as well as a dentist for the TMJ that I got making the attempt to recite these intimidating words out loud. Your recording is especially impressive as you wrap your tongue around these rather juicy words with such dignity! And am I the only one having flashbacks of Mary Poppins singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?”

    Reply
    • Gail

      Not anymore! Thank you for that; I needed a new earworm. (I’ve had ‘Adventure is Out There!’ by AJR going through my head for two days. Dare ya to go listen to that!)

      Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Thanks, Brian. I had a lot of fun putting it together. Had these words in notes for years, then a few days ago thought… heck I’m gonna versify those puppies. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  7. Jeff Eardley

    Mike, just caught the audio of this masterpiece of yours which clarifies everything. When I was at school, our biggest word was, “antidisestablishmentarianism” which spelt backwards could be another Welsh railway station.
    Great to read and hear and as our legendary English wordsmith, professor Stanley Unwin might have put it, “All-time sometime deep joy of a full moon, scintyladen dangly in the heavenly mode.”

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Jeff, I realized after Evan posted the poem that it was too difficult to imagine without hearing it read first. After a little searching, I found an online recorder so you could hear the stresses. I’m glad it worked out… to a degree. 🙂
      Thanks.

      Reply
  8. Sally Cook

    Mike –
    I have Welsh ancestors who settled in Delaware and built a house they called Fox Hall, donated to the American Revolution, and refused to learn English; conducting all their business in an Engtlish speaking country) in WELSH!! Can you or Susan, or both, explain this to me?
    How did they:
    buy food and other necessaries
    Meet and marry
    Build a house
    Speak to their children and/or grandchildren?

    I’m serious; these and other questions have kept me awake some nights when I have nothing more serious troubling me.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      Sally, I did a quick look at some of the history of Delaware. I think that Fox Hall is in or near Dover. Dover is within a long ride of New Castle County where there was a huge Welsh settlement. I’m no historian, however living in South Texas, I know and know of many Spanish speaking immigrants that do all of the things you mention with no problem at all. Just my quick take but I feel sure there were plenty of recent Welsh settlers that communicated with your ancestors.

      Reply
      • Sally Cook

        Mike, thanks so much for taking the trouble to look my relatives up. All I was able to find was a general feeling among distant cousins that the Welsh love gardening, poetry and alcohol.
        Hmm. Even my mother, whose motg
        her was one of that tribe, was told that she was born on St. David’s day (patron saint of Wales) and on that day Welshmen pinned daffodils to their lapels. Thanks again. Now I will be able to get half a night’s sleep.

  9. Sally Cook

    Mike, thanks so much for taking the trouble to look my relatives up. All I was able to find was a general feeling among distant cousins that the Welsh love gardening, poetry and alcohol.
    Hmm. Even my mother, whose mother was one of that tribe, was told that she was born on St. David’s day (patron saint of Wales) and on that day Welshmen pinned daffodils to their lapels. Thanks again. Now I will be able to get half a night’s sleep.

    Reply
  10. Daniel Kemper

    Late to the game, as usual of late, I thoroughly enjoyed the word play. God help us if the biochemists get involved and thrown down the glove — all their words are arbitrarily long by nature!!

    Reply

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