De­light­ing in the won­der of words

The Advertiser - - BOOMER MEMORIES -

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.

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