Litotes: Figure of Speech, Supervisor, Poet

How do you pronounce “litotes,” anyway? That’s a question Tom McDaniel, who happens to sport that selfsame username, is more than happy to weigh in on. His pronunciation preference for the figure of speech is “LIH-duh-teez.”

Tom obtained his English degree in 1995 and enjoys putting it to good use, most recently collaborating on a tutorial that will soon grace the Help Center on WikiAnswers!

Litotes also has a knack for writing some amazing poetry when he’s not supervising on WikiAnswers. He was kind enough to share one of his free verse poems with us today for our Poetry Corner feature.

A Visit with Blondie, As the Sun Sets, by Tom McDaniel

I wonder, Blondie, how many miles you have run
in your twenty-seven years as a horse. For that
matter, I wonder how many years I have wasted
in my too-short time here as a man. Distance

is something that snags somebody. You’d know that,
Temptress, Non-compliant Mare. You were bad
with men, and hard to get along with: even with the she
who rode you and showed you, at least, how to conform.

Why? Why ask why? We all come to this end.
Now, the way things are, you being a horse,
I walk up to you in a little mist of rain-showers.
You lift your head, I rub your forehead: that’s all.

Down goes your mouth, Queen of the arthritic
pains in your fumbling legs, mainly the knees.
Diligently, after I rub your forehead,
you drop your mighty horse head down

once again, to nibble up ropes of grass
and snap them free from the earth
with an energetic side-snip. Why were you born,
Blondie? Why were you here?

We don’t know. She, who has loved you, will cry.
It’s a matter of pain, and circumstance.
She’s putting you down, Blondie. I have loved you,
too, and I’ll join you, soon enough.

I drive away, having said good-bye. You
continue to nibble grass, oblivious to the
rainbow: vast, wide, acquiescent with nature’s
curves – still there, in the sky, though the sun is not.

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