Long words part deux

Since yesterday’s posts, I’ve been thinking a bit more about ‘our’ * attitude to long words.

I have a line in a poem about Phosphorus’s creatures.  I used the proper noun because I was desperately, twistily trying to avoid using phosphorescent, which sounds puke-makingly strained and pompous, I think.  Probably because it’s been much used in the past, along with evanescent (and maybe because it sounds like evanescent) – the past probably being late Romantic verse, or maybe being 20th and 21st century verse that wishes it was late Romantic…

I also used the proper noun because it sounds a bit like those tendencies I vaguely remember in literary writing of the, say, 16th to 18th centuries; where the abstract or inhuman is personified.

And Mercy came down from her seat on high and looked upon the city of Londinium, decrying the daughters of Filth and sons of Squalor she saw in every cranny…

No, I’m not quoting anyone there, I just made it up – who am I imitating (badly)  though?  Pope?  No idea – must look it up.  Anyway, I used to really enjoy reading that kind of stuff, and liked the whiff of oddness the phrase gave to my poem.

I do like Phosphorus’s creatures, but I think my own embarrassment at the poem’s elevated tone and my twisty-turny attempt to shy away from grandness and swooniness (it’s a love poem) is as bad as saying phosphorescent.

* Who do I mean when I say ‘our’?  Me?  Other poets?  Me and other poets when we get together?  People with whom I have workshopped creative writing?  I’m already foundering…

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Long words part deux

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s