For the past three years I’ve devoted November to a serialized work of fiction. I’ve decided this year to write poetry instead. I guess I’ll call it Povember. I start with an early triolet for Hallowe’en.
It lashes rain. I dress: my masquerade.
Mais, elle aussi, elle a sa mascarade.
We meet. I drip. She asks no task or aid.
I dress it. Lashes rain. My mask arrayed,
Mascaraed lashes, fishnets, musk: parade.
Elle ne rien dit, cette Marquise de Sade.
My lashes rain. Dress it: I masquerade,
Mais elle, o! si elle a sa mascarade…
When the summer is here, it’s time to chill some beer (or lemonade, or other drink). But as the days grow dimmer, the time is just… chillsome.
I suppose a word like this would be likely to kill (or make ill) some who have no chill about the language. Others would receive it with a surreptitious sniff as when you pass them a book they suspect to be old and basement-scented. But which is it, lately invented or long aged? Continue reading →
Coworker is a funny word. It’s often misread, sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose. And while I love a good double entendre, in my editorial role as a professional clarifier I feel it is worthwhile inserting a hyphen to make it clear what it really is: cow-orker. Continue reading →
Yes, I am vetust. I am the vetustest. I am wallowing in vetusty. I am vested in fully as many years as a deck of cards has, well, cards (not including jokers). I am perhaps a veteran of years, but only arguably venerable. Jag vet det. Continue reading →
When is it sensible to censure – or censor – something incendiary? Can we not be candid without someone getting burned? At what point does inflammatory speech and the smoke of burning crosses make a more offensive incense than the scent of burning books? For that matter, what is and is not censorship? Continue reading →
This is your time for fulgour. No need to think it vulgar; it’s fine to shine flagrantly. Raise your rays and enubilate yourself. Let those prone to heliotaxis hail a taxi or hop on the omnibus towards your nimbus. All will hallow your halo; all will be effusive about your effulgence. Continue reading →
The opening words of Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem, breathing in as a barely felt but well-needed touch in a quiet moment, are “Selig sind, die da Leid tragen, denn sie sollen getröstet werden.” In English, we know that line from Matthew 5:4 as “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Those who need solace shall have it. Continue reading →
Some days lately it’s almost impossible not, by the end of the day, to be stunkard. However bright and chirpy you may arise in the donzerly light, by the gathering of the gloaming you are gloomy and ready for a cup or two or seven and a half of analgesic, anaesthetic, or liquor of lethe. Continue reading →
And so at last the weekend for the weakened trundles towards us as a languid juggernaut. I will take my small cool folding computer and I will do a little work in the galleria of the art gallery, and then my eyes will dine on artistic creations: paintings, sculptures, architecture, and spectating humans. The latest exhibition in the gallery is by a noted European painter, famed for depictions of luxuriant corpulence. And then I will head home to rest, and in the morning we will load up a car and drive to visit family and have an almighty long-weekend feast consisting of… well, many people like to have “turkey and all the trimmings” but we’re going to be having “Chinese takeout” and “lots and lots of it” because it’s “easier.” And there will be wine, and after breaking bread and sharing meat I am very likely to lapse into syncope on a sofa for a time while nearby pre-teens plot the demolition of the universe.
I am, tl;dr, looking forward to an artophagous, creatophagous, euryphagous, lotophagous weekend. Continue reading →
Patrick Neylan, Eeditor of business reports. Permanently angry about the abuse of English, maths and logic. Terms and conditions: by reading this blog you accept that all opinions expressed herein will henceforth be your opinions.
The Economist "Johnson" language blog
In this blog, named for the dictionary-maker Samuel Johnson, correspondents write about the effects that the use (and sometimes abuse) of language have on politics, society and culture around the world