english

Poland house and neighorhood 037I’ve been reflecting shallowly about the English language , and about Englishmen , and about how we got here to writing blogs , and reading/writing poetry , and other stuff like that . By “we” , I should say , I don’t necessarily mean to imply “me” . If I’d meant “me” , probably I’d have inserted “me” into the text of this post . Maybe I’d have meant  “me” , though , but would have written   “I” . There are rules .

irish caricature (rude)      First , I should say , some of my best friends are Englishmen . Well , one . He works for a Made-in-England boss who pretends to be an Irishmen . That Brit’s claim’s based on the fact that his family vacationed in the southwest of Ireland in the old days where they kept a sailboat and hung around in local pubs drinking up the local lore , and , I think , learning  Blarney .

My Irish grandmother held on to all the ancient prejudices against the English . When she said that the devil lived in London , she meant the devil lived in London . I don’t know who , exactly , she had in mind . Maybe , had she ever gone to London , she’d have looked around for his red horned and hoofed presence walking the streets . She wasn’t much of a fan of the concept of evolution , either , as I remember . Evolution was , no doubt , a devilish  English invention. Irish epitaph

My English friend finally caved in a couple of years ago and got his American citizenship . He’d thought it over for twenty or so years , weighed the pros and cons , and decided finally to jump on in . The government guy giving him the verbal citizenship quiz , or whatever it is , asked him to read this sentence : ” I always pay my taxes “. My friend , raised and educated in England , hesitated amidst some slight shock  , and then said that he’d do his level best and try .

Last night this relatively new American told us about his recent bout with jury duty . It was a federal case . The defendant had broken a door attached to a federal building . He said the FBI was there sitting at the table with the prosecutors . My friend told the judge during the process of choosing a jury that there was nothing that would keep him from being able to make a fair decision , but that he wouldn’t be in favor of the death penalty . He said he was definitely opposed to that .

He told the story about his jury duty right in the middle of our Thursday pool game . It was his turn to shoot , as a matter of fact too , but we all had to listen to his long-winded tale . That would have been okey-dokey , except that some of his facts seemed to be contradictory , and he stretched the rendition out so slapdashedly and shaggy-doggishly that he was eventually relating in glorious detail what he thought the judge was thinking about him , how the judge loved his wisecracks but how the lawyers didn’t seem to , how the judge wanted to keep him on the jury but the lawyers didn’t want to , and how if the defense kicks someone off then the government gets to kick one off , so they were desperately trying to get the judge to kick him off so that they wouldn’t have to play one of their cards , but the judge refused , etc.  And he has this London accent that , when he gets excited and talks fast , is nearly incomprehensible to the American ear . I tried once or twice to quiz him on his facts as he excitedly voiced his confusing story , but there was no stopping him . He got kicked off the jury panel , by the way , and they sent him home , calling it a day , I suppose , and probably scratching their heads about the whole episode . Killarney 1899 cartThe English language , of course , is a mix of French , Saxon , Viking , and a few other older lingos like Latin , Greek , Celtic and Pictish ( not to mention nonsense , jibberish , and baby talk )  And , of course , we’ve got the contributions from the Italians , like “pizza” , ” pepperoni ” , and the north end of Boston . There’s  “cookie” , “yacht” , and “Dutch Boy Paints” from the Dutch , and “skunk” , ” Winnebago” , and  “Indian Casino” from the native Americans. The Mexicans , of course , contributed “tacos”, “burritos” , chimichangas” , and “illegal alien” to the language .

By the time the American colonies got going , it might have been wise for the English to either : 1. simplify ; throw it all out and choose a new language ( Gaelic , perhaps, or Spanish . Nothing wrong with Spanish . ) , or 2. once and for all pick one of the various accents in England and go for that one ( BBC language not withstanding ) . As it is , English in England  is way too hard to understand . More on that subject will have to wait for future posts . It’s too deep of a trough to delve into now.

Getting back to poetry :

I might get one of those novelty books with every page completely blank . The title on the cover would be :  ALL   THAT  I  KNOW ABOUT POETRY and HOW TO ENJOY IT 

by   Meshakespeare

” And now a reading from the Third Sonnet : Brethern , thou thinketh thus , sayeth the poet ……….”RAVEM ( Manet)…” quoth the raven : Nevermore .”

And yet , here I am writing a meandering silly blog in what we still call the ” English ” language . (Let’s not get into the discussion of English vs. American languages . Maybe later. Maybe another time and place) . But , get this : you’re reading it . (No comment on that .)english caricaturesRelax !  What did you expect from this post ? Poetry  ? In my best American now : Have a nice day !George Bernard Shaw 1905papyrus

8 Comments

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8 responses to “english

  1. Greetings, Dan: In R.I.P. memory of your Irish Grandmama, here’s a little accompanying music for this post, a song by Current 93, entitled “Lucifer Over London” (lyrics followed by link to song):

    The twisted wings and clouds unfold
    And the greatgape of He who fell
    Makes darkened shadows over pointed spires
    Little children point and sing
    And little children run and dance
    Over there the setting sun
    And under that the silent stars
    And under they the weeping sky
    And under Her the laughing world
    (Balance sits in western parts
    And piles spare Spares in his gabled room)
    Great Anarch and Monarch of Not
    The Flight of Lucifer over London
    And my little grandson
    Wrinkled son forehead
    All tiny blue pain
    As the Mother Blood emerges
    Then the Mother Grief
    And the Blue Gates of Death
    Open armwide
    Open teethwide
    All dead like the leaves
    Old times shiver
    Old dead calendar
    Past blurred sunsets
    Cinders flying in His heart His heart
    His fingers punch holes in the sky
    (And all the little Christs I count
    Are covered in the breathwhite snow
    And all the little Christs I call
    Are laughing through the green green fields)
    Some of those angels have the face of God
    And some of them have the face of dogs
    (By the Tower of Moad – see the sky’s Greenangel form)
    And lucifer flickers all around me
    His hooded eyes alight
    In the smoky musk
    Look into Him just a little longer
    See the true face of the Moon
    So He wheels there through the heavens
    His eyes are dotted brightlights
    Licked with dust
    A golden seabird
    Halfdead with spray
    His banners broken flags in the wind
    Devouring life he breaks at walls
    The glint of dead fruits glint
    And then the Moon…
    And then the Moon…
    And then the Moon…

    (And sixsixsix
    It makes us sick
    We’re sicksicksick
    of 666)

  2. This may be the first time I’ve seem Shakespeare and Poe mixed within the span of sentences. Thanks for the history lesson – I’ll try to figure out later what part I believe 🙂

  3. Writing and speaking may not be very strongly connected. A new study suggests they might be considered independent language systems. The brain is always compensating because when we write we are not speaking, and when we are speaking we are not writing: A brief review of the new study: http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-writing-speaking-brain-study-20150513-story.html
    Allsk yr ingleash freind to right owt his jowlry dewtea & yule get a diff story, happens every time. HCE

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