Tuesday 16 September 2014

A reader writes

A few days ago I blogged about the odd titles of each of the twenty volumes of the second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary - Cham, Creel, Dvandva, Follow, Hat, Interval, Look, and so on. See the complete list here.

The list, I suggested, offered an Oulipian challenge, and invited SalvÄ“te readers to come up with a piece of prose or poetry incorporating all twenty words/non words. An enterprising soul who clearly has a lot of time to spare and wishes (understandably) to remain anonymous, took up my challenge and perpetrated the following eloquent doggerel. 

Su Moul a Cambodian-Celt
Hoist her creelhat with a wave as she knelt
In the soot of the quemadero
With a poise and a look that said follow!

She began to deliver her ser
("The Origins of Dvandva")
For the good of the unemancipated
With interest she was soon inundated

By a Cham from the old BBC
Who delivered a passionate plea
"Ow who will let poor Su Moul go?!
She is innocent and I should know -

'Tis a custom of our clan
Every eligible woman and man
Should wear a creel on their head
To announce an intention to wed

Now how was she to know that
A lobster'd set up home in her hat?
I make my appeal to the mob -
She had no intention to rob

And for this unintentional crime
She must kneel in the ashes and grime!"
The inquisitors looked very grave
Should they commit to the fire or save?

And begging a brief interval 
They debated whether to annul
Or if they should just see it thru?
Reader - what would YOU do?

Anonymous reader - we salute you! 


  1. Whoever wrote this could teach Kate Tempest a thing or two