Category Archives: poems

snidge, snudge

A snidge is a greedy, miserly person. You can almost hear it, can’t you? The sniffly nasal “sn” and the incisor-biting “idge” – it’s a word that could be muttered sotto voce.

Where does this word come from? It’s an altered version of snudge, which also means a miser, but can also be a verb meaning either ‘be miserly’ or ‘walk in a stooped manner, looking down’ (and possibly also some meanings relating to snug, depending on the dictionary you look in). And where does snudge come from? The historical record is keeping that to itself.

Here’s a poem, for sharing.

Neither hoard your affections nor snudge,
For no int’rest accrues to the snidge,
But fortune and love hold a grudge
To curmudgeons who seek to abridge

And store sweets in their hearts like a fridge.
Oh, the courts of the courting will judge
Those whose love-bug’s as pinched as a midge.
Neither hoard your affections nor snudge—

Take touches and winks as a nudge:
Love’s coinage is nothing to gnidge,
For no treasure was found by a drudge,
And no int’rest accrues to the snidge.

(You may remember from my poem on tregetour that gnidge means ‘rub, squeeze, press’.)

plummet

A plummet, as you may know, is a little bit of lead (hence the name: from plumb, from Latin plumbum ‘lead’, plus diminutive –et) used to weight a line for sounding depths or determining vertical. It is also a word for a stick of lead for writing with. We have had the noun since the 1300s. The verb plummet first (in the early 1600s) meant to use a plummet to sound the depth of water; more recently (from the mid-1800s) it has meant to fall precipitously – like a plummet being dropped, I guess. It has nothing to do with plums… except when they fall from the tree, of course.

Here is a poem. I hope it goes down well. Continue reading

ranticle

The other day, while playing Scrabble, I saw that I could play the word RANTICLE… if only it were a word. Well, I want it to be a word. And obviously it’s a canticle that’s a rant, or a rant that’s a canticle. Or maybe it’s just a little rant. Whatever. Here is a ranticle for you! (Click on the audio above to hear me sing it.)

Here’s to the people you see every day
Who stop on the sidewalk, ignoring the fray,
In ones, twos, and sixes, and get in the way:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the chuckers of trash on the street,
Of wrappers and cigarettes under your feet,
Who think it’s for others to keep the world neat:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the grammar creeps stuck on correct
Who pounce on each error they chance to detect
But treat fellow humans with zero respect:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the journalists, eager for story,
Who haunt the bereaved any time it turns gory,
And zoom in on tears of the upset and sorry:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the drivers, lead foot on the gas,
Who hang on your bumper, so eager to pass
That if you slowed down they’d ram right up your… tailpipe:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the whiners who always protest
When some inequality might be redressed
And by “common sense” mean they get to be best:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the thoughtless, whatever their station,
In things of the neighbourhood and of the nation,
Who can’t spare two seconds for consideration:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

imminent, immanent

You really want to listen to this one:

Here’s a manic mnemonic for imminent versus immanent: Continue reading

threnody

Today, a poem on threnody, which is a song of mourning, from Greek θρηνῳδία.

A wail, a wave, a melody,
a singing throng, a mourning song,
a lilt of loss, a threnody,

enthralling, throttling, memory
relief and peace of grief release,
a pyre of choir, a threnody,

the seamstress of humanity
to rip the skin and stitch within,
a thread, a threat, a threnody.