Sunday, August 19, 2007

Invented words

Don't you often think to yourself - happening upon some instance of mistaken word formation, some accidentally wonderful piece of invention (whether your own, or someone else's) - "Oh, that really ought to be a word."?

I do. Quite often.

The following short poem is, I think, a good illustration of the point.

The context is probably fairly self-explanatory..... but that's never stopped me adding unnecessary glosses in the past, and it won't now. Yes, I was mooching in my girlfriend's bathroom; I read - or misread - this rather wonderful word, that got me thinking..... And then it ended up in this piece of distilled heartbreak, where I was gloomily anticipating a long separation from her while she went back to the States for Christmas, and fearing (rightly, as it turned out) that this separation might prove to be permanent. It's one of my only pieces to be so 'personal' that I address it to someone in the Second Person; but I don't think that precludes it from being submitted to a wider audience.


Limelessness – the quality of being
Without limes.
A fine word: green and shimmering;
Musical, like the rustle
Of high tree branches.
Yet not a word at all, in fact;
Rather, a mental phantom,
A cognitive stumble
In reading 'Lime Essence'
On a jar of body-scrub
In your bathroom.

I miss these moments,
Scouring your apartment
For details of your history,
Your inner life;
Poring over books, CDs,
Ornaments, cosmetics,
To feel how they resonate of you.

I should go
And buy a dozen limes.
Their zest and fragrance may
Console me,
Give me some strength
To survive my long voyage
Across this bitter sea of You-lessness.


Anonymous said...

sad and obsessively lovely.

much of your love tends to border on obsessive, doesn't it? or is it that love is that way and you just happen to put words to it?

p.s. it really didn't need an explanation. but I'm glad you gave it one.

and, thanks for sharing. it's been a while since we've seen your heart overflow in poetic expression. it's a sight worth seeing.

Anonymous said...

"you-lessness" I love this word you have invented.