Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The Ache of Limitations

A distant relation to awe,
If only orthographically,
Ache wants synonyms for itself.

Why? There’s no language with enough
Various words for ache’s shadings—
Pain, pang, twinge, throb, stabbing, spasm,

Soreness, tenderness, discomfort.
It’s irritating there’s fewer
Terms for ache than there are for snow,

And, unlike all the words for snow,
Ache’s terms are poorly organized
By actual, specific traits.

They should lie on a graded scale—
Ache minuscule, ache persistent,
Ache majeure—and at every scale

There should be terms for types of aches—
Hollow, wringing, background humming—
And for location, specific?

A generalized bodily ache?
Long, black cloud? There should be distinct
Terms for emotional salience

Of aches—the aching of longing
In the guts is no stomachache,
And chest pains differ from heartaches.

But there aren’t. There are just bolt-ons,
Modifiers to the Ur-ache,
And you’re too old, tired, and aching

To start inventing new words now,
Even if someone might adopt
The things, which, of course, no one would.

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