Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lest (April)

The double negative challenges us from the first. Lest we forget. Three little words place us directly where we must remember to remember. While not an imperative, they are call and command. They appeal to conscience. On April 25th, we are prompted to remember soldiers, war, loss, futility, death. Or it may be just to remember we are part of remembering. ‘Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet’ is elided from the experience for many, yet Kipling’s meaning depends on assurance of the Lord’s presence. ‘Lest’ is part of collective memory, even as it increases its antiquated Victorian tension.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cabinet (April)

We once read about cabinets, principled factors fitted together for results. Cabinets held important papers, solved insoluble space issues. Long night reading sessions brought home reassuring impressions of safe joins and right instructions. Cabinets contained only the best. The people who made them up were solid and knowledgeable. Today it’s disconcerting reading. Cabinets are makeshift constructions of chance materials, pop-up planners. Shiny reliable boards are riddled with corruption. It’s a wonder cabinets hold together, their connections are so slipshod. Parts fall off. Augustan standards prove April foolishness, assembled using an Ikea key. It’s time to go back to the drawing-board.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Medieval (April)

Kingsley Amis instructed that medieval be pronounced in four syllables, “meedy-eeval”. To pronounce it in three was “an infallible sign of fundamental illiteracy.” February is pronounced in two, three, or four syllables, depending on how we manage the rhubarb sound in the middle. Whether any of those are signs of fundamental illiteracy does not vex those in the middle of a February heat wave. Feb will do. April brings no such accusations. Two syllables, though Amis would have taken those to task who didn’t know whether emphasis was on the pea or the are. Only what of Chaucer’s Aprille? Three?