✒ words are all I have

“There are those who loathe puns, anagrams and wordplay of any description. They regard practitioners as trivial, posey, feeble, nerdy and facetious. As one such practitioner, I do understand the objections. Archness, cuteness, pedantry and showoffiness do constitute dangers. However, as a non-singing, non- games-playing, -dancing, -painting, -diving, -running, -catching, -kicking, - riding, -skating, -skiing, -sailing, -climbing, -caving, -swimming, -free- falling, -cycling, -canoeing, -jumping, -bouncing, -boxing sort of person, words are all I have. As the old cliché has it, they are my friends. I like to say them, weigh them, poke them, tease them, chant their sound, gaze at their shape and savour their juiciness, and, yes, play with them. Some words are made up of the same letters as others, some can fit inside others, some can be said the same backwards as frontwards, some rhyme outrageously, some seem unique and peculiar like yacht and quirk and frump and canoodle. I take pleasure in their oddities and pleasures and contradictions. It amuses me that a cowboy is a boy who rounds up cows, but a carboy is a flagon of acid, that conifer is an anagram of fir cone and esoteric of coteries, that gold has a hundred rhymes but silver has none. It saddens me that the French talk of the jouissance of language, its joyousness, juiciness, ecstasy and bliss, but that we of all peoples, with English as our mother tongue, do not. Such frolicsome larkiness may put you off, but if you wish to make poems it seems to me necessary that some part of your verse, however small, will register the sensuousness, oddity and pleasure of words themselves, as words, regardless of their semantic and communicatory duties. Not all paintings draw attention to their brushwork – art can, of course, as validly make transparent its process as exhibit its presence – but each tradition has value and none represents the only true aesthetic.”

― Stephen Fry, “The Ode Less Travelled” (2005)