(in the style of the kids TV show "Make a Wish")
by Ronald Bruce Meyer
9 September 2001

When you look for this word through your lexical prism
You will find no such "ism" as paroxysm.
That's because it's no doctrine nor system nor theory;
But a fit -- such as Fred Cook facing Bob Peary!
The Greeks invented the word -- that's no joke --
Meaning "to sharply or extremely provoke."
In passion it's clear Greeks were second to none,
Which is why, fighting Trojans, they naturally won.
Paroxysm isn't a militant word,
But a medical one, where it's usually heard.

A disease of violent and sudden releases,
With remissions that calm -- before flying to pieces --
A spasmodic passion or outburst or shaking
Is surely a paroxysm rage in the making.
Perhaps like Billy Sunday who, you may recall,
Found God after leaving Chicago baseball.
Or as William Jennings Bryan declaimed,
Another local hero of paroxysm famed.
With morals or silver they were often annoyed,
In their speeches, their paroxysms were hard to avoid.

They made a wish... that it might come true.
Said it's all up to you. It's all up to you.

Even the mythology of ancient gods
Portrays paroxysms of gods at odds.
When Loki the evil and Heimdall once vie,
They'll battle at Ragnarock from dawn to die.
When Marduk battled Tiamat to victory,
He formed from her body the earth, sky and sea.
Mars was the Roman god of war,
From his name came "martial" and "March" and more.
While in the throes of his blood debt.
For killing Osiris, Horus slew Set.
So gods have paroxysms, too,
In heaven, as on earth, it's nothing new!

V.I. Lenin, the Soviet firebrand,
Spoke passion of paroxysm to take the land.
As Hitler's kinetic performance portrayed it,
And Mussolini in Italy played it,
They preached, with paroxysm, hate,
And misled many to evil fate.
It took the paroxysm of war,
From that fascist grip the world to restore.
So, you see, the rage of paroxysm
Can bring world peace -- or cause world schism.

So... make a wish... it might come true.
It's all up to you. It's all up to you.

What causes in sickness a paroxysm, you say?
Ingestion of strychnine, or sunstroke by day,
Shock therapy, eclampsia, uremia and more,
Such as nerve gas, as used in the First World War,
DTs, and rabies, and meningitis, too,
Toxemia -- and hemlock, as Socrates found true!
For the paroxysm of ague and fever
Hairy-leafed henbane can be a reliever.
Pertussis, a paroxysm of coughing fits,
Cures with sedatives, fluids and nursing sits.

It's difficult a good word for paroxysm to find,
For mostly it frenzies and messes your mind.
But if you'll consider an alternate meaning,
Then paroxysm takes on a surrogate leaning,
As in... a paroxysm of laughter,
With great guffaws pealing and seemingly dafter
Than a garden variety chuckle or grin.
Here's one more use for a couple in their skin--
There's the paroxysm of sexual pleasure...
It's more fun than the others... and by any measure!

So... make a wish... it might come true.
It's all up to you. It's all up to you.

--Uptight, Late-Night, Stage Fright Ronald, The Duke of Doggerel

Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance doggerelist.

NB: The reading will be more enjoyable if you use the correct pronunciations:

Robert Peary's name is (correctly) pronounced to rhyme with "theory" (but in two syllables)
Loki is pronounced [LOH-kee]
Heimdall is pronounced [HAYM-dahl]
Ragnarock is pronounced [RAG-nuh-rahk]
Marduk is pronounced [MAHR-duhk]
Tiamat is pronounced [TYAH-maht]
Osiris is pronounced [oh-SY-ris]
ague is pronounced [AY-gyoo]