Describe the ripples on a lake.

First, disregard the word shimmer.

too rapidly, it decays into simmer,

then slimmer, slumber, suddenly slum,

lumber, snicker or worse. It will not

stand, it will dissolve upon reflection.

Beware the words wash, wave, lave, dash,

for they will not withstand the toss of one

into the other until all that is left is dander

and lather, as they ladder into each

other in discord with pitch and variance.

Forget scintillate, it sets the same trap

as iridescent and brilliantine. Discard

dappled, flashing, sinuous, prismatic,

though all susurrate, the pronunciation

will not sustain amplitude or frequency.

Ripples on a lake must be teased from

each word to present themselves — not just

as they are, but who they are — to describe

ripples each must be acknowledged as an

individual — then ripple’s message will be clear —

each one says, “do not be discouraged.”