logic test

This morning, I wanted to make a pun on the idea of a poet as a “maker” and a poem as “a made thing”; before I did so, though, I went to Google to check that I had the etymology right. What I found reminded me of those IQ test questions where you fill in the next word in a set or in a sequence.

Here the sequence starts “poet, poem, poetry,” but the final word is not the one I would have expected:

derivation of word "poem". Google results

dictionary delight

When I visit my elderly mother we usually spend the evening with the newspaper puzzle page. (A single crossword can distract from many cross words.) It’s the cryptic crossword that we enjoy most and, between us, we often complete it. Yesterday, we attempted the one from the i newspaper, abandoning it with some half dozen clues unanswered.

reference books
The crossword always seems easier the next day – I suspect it’s telepathic communication with all those readers who’ve checked their answers early on! – so we had another look this morning and finally had it completed all but one clue.

The clue was “A free broadcaster?” and the letters we had were:
A _ N _ I _
Continue reading “dictionary delight”

Khayyam, again, and disappearing words

apple blossom
"...under the apple bough"
Yesterday’s post reminded me of a glosa – posted below – but then led me on in leaps and bounds to thinking about vocabulary. Specifically, about the word ‘bough’: when, and how, did I learn it?

It’s not exactly the sort of word that crops up in childhood conversation, so I’m pretty sure I must have read it. Which could either have been in a story or in a poem. Or, I suppose, at Christmas, when we “deck[ed] the halls with boughs of holly”. Perhaps that’s the most likely, as would explain how I learned to pronounce it, too.

The word ‘bough’ probably crops up in plenty of older stories and poems, but how much new writing contains such words?
Continue reading “Khayyam, again, and disappearing words”

time for thought

clock, thermometer, magnifying glass...
I’m currently working on a translation project to produce an English version of the voice-over script for a dance video. The original is not precisely poetry, but it’s certainly not standard prose and it does depend on multiple meanings and interpretations.

This is the sort of project I love, as it offers all sorts of creative potential – as long as the person you’re working with doesn’t demand that the translation say exactly the same as the original.

To begin with, there’s no way I can find a word in English like the Spanish word tiempo, which can be used for ‘verb tense’, ‘weather’, ‘time’ and ‘time signature’, plus a few other unrelated concepts.

This, of course, is one reason it’s fun being a ‘creative translator’. It probably also accounts for the fact that my thesaurus is falling apart.