Delighting in the wonder of words
WORDS quaint and quirky, emphatic, exuberant or simply useful have delighted me since I wrote my first “poem” at the age of six.
It was about my garden, my friends and my cat; so not much has changed in 70 years.
Recently, on a tour of Northern Ireland, I found my word heaven at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace in County Derry, birthplace of the late Nobel prize-winning poet.
Here, visitors immerse themselves in a stunning interpretation of Heaney’s work. They listen to him read and talk about his writings — mellifluously — against a backdrop of photographs of the land and people he loved.
Visitors place gold stars by the name of their favourite poem, with Mid-term Break a clear winner. No, it’s not about a holiday. Have a tissue ready before you check it out online.
What enthralled me most, though, was a network of dozens of the words that this supreme wordsmith either coined or took as his own, hanging in bunches from the high ceiling.
What does dailigone mean? Is glit a noun or a verb? I ponder moss-cheepers, pampooties and plain old hammer and tongs. But my favourite word currently is mizzle; it’s more than a mist but not quite a drizzle. Ireland gets quite a lot of that. Elizabeth Hutchins
Leabrook cruising on the QEII as well as being included in programs featuring Max Bygraves and Des O’Connor.
Vicki and Tina live in South Australia but no longer perform. Toni, known professionally as Tina St Clair, lives in Queensland and continues to entertain while maintaining a major commitment in caring for native wildlife. John Rawes Westbourne Park
ON SONG: Members of singing group Hendry Sisters, Tina, 12, Toni, 18, and Vicki, 15, at Adelaide Railway Station in 1967.
WEB: Words used by Nobel prizewinning poet Seamus Heaney hang from the ceiling of the Seamus Heaney HomePlace.