The last time out, we gave you a list of words and asked you to use your thesaurus to find alternate words (synonyms) with which to write your poem. Today  we dip back in to find something contrary (antonyms) to the words provided. And once again use these to write your poems. The words come from “The Stories of John Cheever.”


impair                     timidity

chaste                             sober

power                           loudly

angel                transparent

skulduggery          problem


Relatively Speaking (a haibun)
Before the sun rises, he starts his day with strong coffee and a shot glass.  He is soft-spoken and trustworthy; never lewd nor aggressive.  Incompetence is not in his nature.  From dark to dark, he drinks hard, yet works hard – finding solutions where others stumble; aiding those in need, giving no heed to whether they be angel or devil, “deserving” or not.  He battles his own demons, and judges not his fellow man.
I’ve never known him
Not inebriated,
Yet never known him drunk
 © Copyright Marie Elena Good – 2013
Impair:  aid   Timidity:  aggression  Chaste: lewd  Sober:  drunk, inebriated  Power:  incompetence  Loudly:  softly
Angel: devil, demon  Transparent: dark  Skulduggery: trustworthiness  Problem:  solution



The solution is not an easy fix,
but it’s the concrete truth.
It’s just a weakness that’s been exposed
quite early in your youth.
“It takes some guts to get spoiled drunk!”
whispered your demon; devil punk.


© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik 2013

Replaced with these words: impairfix, timiditygutschastespoiled, soberdrunkpowerweakness, loudlywhispered, angeldemon, transparentconcrete, skulduggerytruth, problemsolution

92 thoughts on “MEAN WHAT YOU SAY… SORT OF – PROMPT #98

  1. As I Grow Up (a Rondeau)

    As I grow up, I start to see
    The *corrupt*, *crazy* part of me,
    That little *devil*, my own flesh,
    I start to see my *helplessness*,
    How quickly *dark* takes hold of me

    When I refuse all *truth* and *aid*,
    And push away the gifts God made.
    I start to see how *quietly*,
    As I grow up,

    That little voice, that driving force
    Pushes me back, so rude and coarse,
    As all the proud *strength* slips from me,
    I rest their in His arms: safety,
    Security, I feel at *peace*,
    As I grow up.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2013

    Here are the words I used:
    impair – aid; chaste – corrupt; power – helplessness; angel – devil; skullduggery – truth; timidity – strength; sober – crazy; loudly – quietly; transparent – dark; problem – peace

  2. “The Poet”

    Due West
    I daily travel
    seeking my Elysium; the PERFECTED phrase:
    BRAVE, startled thought expressing love
    SOFTLY, its long lines stretching to eternity.
    I trace
    the same worn pathway
    as Ulysses; DRUNK with desire, pitched against
    that HAZY horizon where no sound; nothing bounces back
    EVIL, DEVIL-black!
    Now comes the sound; ANGELIC voices spiraling through the dusty ether.
    I pause in reverence of my soul, alone; God-like.
    I clone myself in circles; writing momentary sounds of Now!
    So hungry for the more than WEAKENED, wing`ed phrase;
    the SOLUTION to set my poem free…
    and split infinity.

    impair/PERFECT; timidity/BRAVE;chaste/EVIL/;sober/DRUNK; power/WEAKNESS/ loudly/SOFTLY;

  3. Poetic Justice

    Honest officer. This sounds crazy
    so bear with me.

    I was at home enjoying a nice game
    of scrabble with my daughter
    when Murry Waltz and his
    beautiful sidekick Bloom came
    bursting through the door.

    Two editors with red pencils flashing!
    I took a No. 2 straight to the sternum.
    Bad PR! O.B. Lamaze classes
    were nothing to how this hurt.
    Murry chased us through the living room, yelling:
    Do you have a room you could
    try and spare? Rent it to me!

    That voice in my head told me
    no doubt, they were after
    something. Like they say in the old
    country, you never rob lemmings
    unless you are lost. I feared
    they knew about the secret haibun stash.

    Bloom pushed us into my office, and whispered:
    Tell him what it’s called, Doug, or he will
    grab your little imp here and
    kapow! Her cries of “Help! Help!”
    that timid ditty, will never be heard
    again! (Relatively speaking, of course.)
    Sorry, not allowed!

    Leaning over my desk I hit the panic button,
    And alarms started to blare. Get out! I yelled.
    Plagiarism and puns are never victimless rhymes.
    I mean what I say – sort of! And they high-tailed it out of there.
    I am so shook up my knees remain jello just thinking about it…
    Now, please, I just want to change the locks before they
    come back for my metaphors.

    (A Petrarchan Sonnet)

    Don’t try to beat a demon at his game.
    To fight fire with fire is a waste
    of time. What weapons we choose should be based
    on what will strengthen us and not that same
    Old same old, like pouring oil on a flame.
    Decide on a solution, not in haste,
    but quietly armed with courage, faith placed
    in God, march to war with His Holy Name
    a prayer on your lips. Through a glass opaque
    stare down the beast. Show no weakness to him.
    The frivolous, the impure––strike him down!
    With light, kill the darkness for your soul’s sake.
    Destroy the tempting devil limb by limb.
    With honesty and grace peace will abound.

    antonyms used: demon, strengthen, quietly, solution, courage, opaque, weakness, frivolous, impure, honesty

  5. Here I am 🙂


    Springtime *boldness* of desire, *sanctioning* our *weakness*,
    *Corrupted*, though *naïve*, just whispering
    In *sotto-voce*, like a *demon* struggling
    To *obscure* our judgment, our better wisdom
    And fighting back the *purity* of frost
    The silent *strength* of winter in our souls,
    Is here.

    My words: impair – sanction; timidity – boldness; chaste – corrupted; sober – naïve; power – weakness; loudly – sotto-voce; angel – demon;
    transparent – obscure; skulduggery – purity; problem – strength.

  6. A Bit of Advice

    I say, with all sincerity,
    there is no panacea, dear.
    But nonetheless, temerity
    will get you through when all’s unclear.

    You wish for popularity?
    No pianissimo. (Don’t sneer.)
    There is no panacea, dear.
    I say, with all sincerity,

    flamboyancy, dexterity –
    they’ll trump paralysis and steer
    a wanton churl into high gear.
    I hope you’re buoyed. Verity,
    I say, with all sincerity.

    Antonyms: Skulduggery/sincerity; problem/panacea; timidity/temerity; transparent/unclear; loudly/pianissimo; sober/flamboyancy; power/paralysis; chaste/wanton; angel/churl; impair/buoyed

    (Boy, this was a challenge, trying the list in Rondel form! Thanks! :D)

    Great job, everyone!

  7. Fun game, kids.

    Musical Charity

    Hello you, passers-by.
    Hello, you here-to-theres and there-to-somewheres.

    Hello, opaquely shuttered eyes.
    Hello, word-sucking mouths and muffled ears.

    A moment, upright citizens:
    to take our bald-faced charity.
    A moment, if you will, you sinks and drains,

    to snatch a rhyme and a song, or three
    A fiddle tune’s the key to doubt.
    Rhythm’s strung with answers.

    Nothing shackles a tapping foot:
    Boldness! you giddy dancers!
    Be wanton music, hide and hair,
    Be kicks and bounces and devils-may-care.


    impair=sweeten timidity=boldness

    chaste=wanton sober=giddy

    power=drain loudly=muffled

    angel=devil transparent=opaque

    skulduggery=charity problem=answer

  8. Night Vision

    How quietly the twilight aids the night
    from its first brazen sip of darkness,
    gradually making a demon of the light
    and all things that survive in starkness.

    A tipsy weakness cloaked in shade seems fair,
    ready solution to wrongs hidden there,
    but impure as we are, we need night eyes,
    to guide us to see stars in blackest skies.

    Loudly=quietly; impair=aids; timidity=brazen; transparent=darkness; angel=demon; sober=tipsy; power=weakness; problem=solution; skullduggery=fair; chaste=impure

  9. Integrity

    Demons smile at unfaithfulness,
    wink at weakness
    and dance to drunken delirium,
    but their confidence soars in deception,
    in opaque souls concealing sin.
    Demons are fine with quick fixes
    and seemingly sound solutions
    based in human reasoning.
    But they quake at integrity
    and those who quietly trust in God.

    demon, unfaithful, weakness, drunk, confidence, opaque, fix, solution, integrity, quietly

  10. Haunted

    It wasn’t just the children spooked by the house
    or the old man inside, the one they rarely saw
    outside his door, much less the yard. Parents,
    mailmen, even the Mormons left him alone,
    passing the place in whispers, cutting their eyes
    quickly as if they might catch a glimpse
    through the windows, not merely opaque
    but curtained in grime. He hadn’t always lived
    alone there. At least that’s what the old folks
    claimed; some say he had a daughter, ravaged
    not by men but time, weighed down by weakness.
    Others said she was his sister, a frivolous girl
    unable to repair the damage, the loss that left him
    her captor, her keeper. The devils haunting them
    both offered no solution to the puzzle they posed.
    She finally escaped his smoldering anger, unleashed
    sometimes in nightmare screams, suppressed
    at others, white hot or stone cold. She ran away,
    they say, carving a goodbye note by pen knife
    in the tabletop, her only attempt at bravery or honesty:
    The girl is gone. Don’t seek her. Ever.

    impair repair
    timidity bravery
    chaste ravaged
    sober frivolous
    power weakness
    loudly in whispers
    angel devil
    transparent opaque
    skullduggery honest,
    problem solution

  11. CHOKA – (Tell a story)

    Robust* team members
    awash with wayward* spirit
    cave-in* ‘neath edicts
    set to curb ever
    last reckless* antic of the
    energized* hellions*.

    The captain’s ‘take’ on
    misconduct reflects his deep
    confidence* at play
    as shown in his hushed*
    obscure* explanations* of
    future reprimands.

    Impair, chaste, power, timidity, sober, angel, skulduggery, loudly, transparent, problems

  12. I’m tinkering with a new sonnet form here: anapestic tetrameter with a wonky rhyme scheme, especially in 3rd stanza. Well, maybe the only thing sonnet-like is 14 lines…

    Saturday Nights Redux

    Must Saturday nights go to pushers and thugs?
    Can a devil speak softly, repair us with drugs?
    Must the music strut proudly, get drunk on the dark,
    while our weaknesses dance on a pole for a lark?

    There are fireflies to capture, starlight in a jar;
    there are ball games and cookouts wherever you are.
    There are picnics with symphonies, rock bands, and fun:
    there is light in the darkness—no need for a gun.

    Do we dare a solution to foulness and frights,
    turn our bold honest faces from mumbling and shrugs,
    and release all the children to play in the park?
    Could we teach generations to love who they are
    so they can face a Sunday when Saturday’s done?
    Can we take back the joy of our Saturday nights?

    Angel=devil; loudly=softly; impair=repair; timidity=strut proudly; sober=drunk; transparent=dark; power=weaknesses; skullduggery=bold honest; chaste=foulness;


    Confidence shaken,
    I spiral
    in corrupt ambiguity,
    yielding to self-
    indulgent ways
    of the enemy.

    He speaks to me.
    Asking for honesty,
    offering a solution:
    a chance to be

    P. Wanken


    impair — cleanse
    chaste — corrupt
    power — yielding
    angel — enemy
    skullduggery — honesty
    timidity — confidence
    sober — indulgent
    loudly — inaudibly
    transparent — ambiguity
    problem – solution

  14. Pingback: Tender Mercy | echoes from the silence

  15. Pingback: Invisible Battlefield | Metaphors and Smiles

    • Invisible Battlefield

      Dark forces quietly slink
      in the unseen realm
      just beyond the impervious veil.
      Source’s shroud-
      comfort and covering,
      if she’ll assume it,
      will be means for control
      over intoxication-
      over feeble mindedness;
      an answer if she’ll hold it-
      harbor her ultimate Enabler
      in the abysmal unbidden places.
      The narrow road’s not easy
      but honesty to true self is filling,
      like the heavy hush of silent wood,
      yes, forthright and freeing
      and eventually there’ll be victory.
      Her heart will be boisterous-
      rowdy with real and genuine joy.
      She’ll have learned to tap into It,
      to draw from the Divine within,
      to receive this gift swathed in grace.
      She’ll drink from the flawless stream
      imbibing instead in the Water of Life;
      it trickles happily like a song over stones,
      it spills from the Mountain of Transcendence.
      Peace leaches into her every empty space,
      nourishes roots that had shriveled –
      fed tendrils spiral deeper into the Light.

      Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2013

      THE LIST

      Impair (enable), timidity (boisterous)
      chaste (tainted, polluted), sober (intoxicated)
      power (feeble), loudly (quietly)
      angel (dark force), transparent (impervious)
      skulduggery (forthrightness, honesty)
      problem (answer)

      It just occurred to me that I didn’t use my antonym for chaste…
      Hmm…I’m sure I could puzzle -fit it in somewhere but…
      not right now.

      Smiles to everyone!

  16. Wild One

    By David De Jong

    His only weakness was his confidence
    Red eyed appaloosa unable to fence
    Attempts to confine corrupted him more
    The pale-face were demons all to abhor
    A spirited game of frivolous chance
    Saddles and riders just enhanced his dance

    Where she came from was mystical, unclear
    Softly she coaxed him closer, absent fear
    Flowing braids of honesty, eyes of love
    Answering hope upon white wing’ed dove
    She called him by name as no one before
    A child’s pleasure his stride forever more

    Antonyms used:

    Impair – Enhance, Timidity – Confidence, Chaste – Corrupt
    Sober – Frivolous, Power – Weakness, Loudly – Softly
    Angel – Demon, Transparent – Unclear, Skullduggery – Honesty
    Problem – Answer

  17. Entangled

    She prayed for a solution. Let some
    brave, solid soul come stepping
    softly along, help improve
    her life of strife, suffering blows
    from a drunken, devil of a man,
    an immoral lout with a pig’s snout,
    who bullies night after night, threatening
    her. If she tries to run away, he says
    she’ll pay, but one day the truth
    will come out, and the mighty
    become the weak.

    Use antonyms of: impair, chaste, power, angel, skulduggery,
    timidity, sober, loudly, transparent, problem


    Her dance is enhanced by faint restraint –
    tainted by opaque weakness of foot,
    yet sparks spill and streak, a demon’s
    bleak song upon easy stride,
    and we are honestly lost
    in the quietness of her dance.
    Our hearts are carried on the brash
    clash of cymbals, feeling the depths
    of steps echoed on silky skimmed drums,
    and we fall drunk on a song
    that so easily pleases our ears.

    Words – Antonyms
    Impair – enhanced
    chaste – tainted
    power – weakness
    angel – demon
    skulduggery – honestly
    timidity – brash
    sober – drunk
    loudly – quietness
    transparent – opaque
    problem – easily

  19. “The night thief”

    Bawdy, he was, that Old Bogy—

    Those who seen him say
    he were the kind tha’ swept young ‘uns,
    befogged in frail dreams,
    ‘tween pages o’ fairy tales and ink wells,

    he cannot laugh
    his hugs are broke

    Johnny Parke once hear’d him speak
    and told he’s square-shooting and cheeky.

    Most nights, you ken find th’ masters,
    cottage-dwelling proud,
    murmuring ‘hind pub doors,
    bandying fix after flummery fix,
    as means to mendin’ their ailing brood.

    By dawn the pap’s are pickle-eyed,
    needin’ a shave, but finding
    a kind o’ joy that de Old Bogy deprived
    them ‘nother night’s snore
    aside Ma’s wintry bosom.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    ~Bawdy, Old Bogy, befogged, frail, square-shooting, cheeky, murmuring, fix, mending, pickle-eyed.

  20. While you wait

    Before they built the underpass there was
    an oil change place by the railroad crossing
    on Main Street. Stuck waiting for a train?
    their brazen candy-stripe sign inquired,
    Have your oil changed while you wait!

    and I often did, screwing up my courage
    to sample their outrageously strong coffee,
    thick as 10W30, hot as the devil’s arse,
    while the train rattled slowly past and the
    grease monkeys scampered around the bay.

    One time I read a book on their table about
    sibling rivalry. Another I remember staring
    out the dirt-smeared window at the quietly
    falling snow. I thought great thoughts there.
    I decided straight-up God loved the railroad.

    But in the end nothing could help against
    the wrecking ball of progress. I don’t wait
    for trains any more. I get my oil changed in
    a place with a giant stuffed bass on the wall.
    There is no God there, and the coffee has no soul.


    Skullduggery-Straight-up; Impair-Help; Timidity-Courage
    Chaste-Brazen; Sober-Outrageous
    Problem-Progress; Power-Stuck; Loudly-Quietly
    Angel-Devil; Transparent-Grubby

  21. This is my late offering. Just now had a moment to figure out something, though I’m not sure where this one came from. It was just there, staring at me from the other side of the paper. I’m not sure, but I have a feeling it was glaring at me. I don’t vouch for its sense, only for its originality.


    Cloudy vision, a devil’s tool,
    Asking honesty for reprieve;
    A convenience leading to
    Wanton surrender’s loquacious
    Passage through night-tme’s valiant
    Bid to cleanse one’s thoughts of growing
    Awareness in life’s mock subtlety.

    My words chosen:

    Impair=Cleanse Chaste=Wanton Power=Surrender Angel=Devil Skulduggery=honesty Problem=convenience Loudly=Subtlety Transparent=cloudy Sober=Loquacious Timidity=Valient

  22. Pingback: Poetic Bloomings Chooses the Opposite | Two Voices, One Song

  23. (Revised Version)


    Her dance,
    enchanted and enhanced by faint restraint –
    painted and tainted
    by opaque ribboned feet.
    Fleet sparks,
    spilling they streak across stage,
    demon’s dance,
    sleek bleak refrain on easy stride.
    We are truly
    swept up and lost in the still quietness
    of dance,
    our hearts carried on brash cymbal crash,
    deep waves
    of her steps echo on silky skimmed boards,
    and we fall
    drunk to the rhythmic song of dance,
    a tune
    that so easily pleases our ears.

    • Loving the internal rhyme here, and all the sound-repetition that’s not rhyme, not exactly alliteration… whatever it is, it reads wonderfully.

  24. Pingback: The Sound of Dance – version 2 | Misky

  25. Love is Blind

    He was easygoing, a thoroughly nice guy,
    not sneaky, sly but could look you in the eye.
    He was a decent gent, incapable of harm
    fun-loving, silly but with an easy charm.
    All the worse in others in him was no trace.
    Just knowing this lad enriched the human race.

    Then, as fate would have it, as it often does
    he met a girl one day but cheeky she was
    with openly audacious, dangerous ways
    She was a fiend, all but he could see it blaze,
    his vision dim, obscured by her pretty face
    around which bouncy curls framed a cunning grace.

    All his friends watched this adulterated mess
    in silence at an outcome they could but guess.

    impair, enrich
    timidity, cheek, daring
    chaste, adulterated
    sober, silly
    power , incapable
    loudly, silence
    angel , fiend
    transparent, cloudy, obscured
    skullduggery, decent
    problem, easygoing

    Much harder (for me) than I though it would be.


    As she lays shivering on the gurney
    Waits quietly for the doctor to examine her
    The police to ask their questions
    She wonders at her urge to laugh
    Knows if she starts, it will
    Be that giddy unstoppable giggling
    Inappropriate to the occasion

    She takes a deep breath, reminds
    Herself, there is nothing so bad
    It cannot be fixed – tells herself
    Even as broken as she is feeling
    In all honesty, she believes she
    Can be put back to rights

    She has, after all, been raised
    To be self-confident – fearless really
    So it was when she was attacked
    The hit felt particularly obscene
    And her person especially violated
    As if this perpetrator was taking
    More than even he knew…

    But with the self-preservation instincts
    That came with such strong traits
    After the assault was over
    She became determined to stay honest
    To not give into an almost overwhelming
    Impulse to run away, hide, grow secretive

    She knew if her attacker – a diabolic cretin
    Of that she was certain – if he was to be caught
    If he was to never hurt another woman
    Most importantly – if he was not allowed
    To change her fundamentally – he would not win

    The words:

    impair – fixed
    timidity – self-confident, fearless
    angel – diabolic, cretin
    chaste – obscene, violated
    transparent – secretive
    sober – giddy
    power – broken
    skulduggery – honesty
    loudly – quietly
    problem – put to rights

  27. The Awakening of the Poetic Soul

    She used words with an aggressive dissipation,
    no shards of glass too sharp
    for the tender feet of the virgin reader.

    Feeling impotent and bewitched by
    the forthrightness of her language,
    language that was at once mesmerizing and lyrical,
    she read on in anticipation,
    the words dripping softly
    with an intoxication never thought to be achieved
    without the use of liquids.

    The solution resolved as she read
    and as the opaque veil of misunderstanding was lifted
    the poetic strings wrapped around her heart
    restoring her soul to the fundamental beginnings
    of awaken beauty.

  28. Devils and Angels

    Eluding devils whisper in my ears,
    Leading me down false paths
    With no intention of help,
    Those corrupt murmurs
    Playing on my weaknesses,
    Leaving me under the influence
    Of my persistent doubts.

    I cling to a dead talisman
    Of my faded faith,
    Translating ancient truths
    From obscure tongues
    In search of a solution,
    Wishing I had the courage
    To climb the mountain
    And seek the quiet counsel
    Of angels who no longer
    Fly through my world.

    Angel – devil, impair – help, transparent – obscure, skulduggery – truths, problem – solution, timidity – courage, loudly – quiet, power – weaknesses, sober – under the influence, chaste – corrupt.

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