Sunday, June 17, 2007

Comprehending Incomprehensible:

"Obeedude was totally incomprehensible and if you missed it you will have to have him explain it to you. Something about making up the language. Check out his blog today, he does have a wonderful growler thing-y on it. Which reminds me, Alan's new broadside has Mark's growler poem on it."

O.K., to answer Barb's Barb, This is whats-up:

If you scroll down to the bottom of this blog you will notice that I have been reading quite allot over the past year. Not included in these lists are the Genealogy Books, Text Books and other Apocrypha necessary for me to research and complete the Novel I have been writing based upon my the lives of my ancestors tentatively entitled ©"A Wasterly Gail."

As some have noticed my blog has gone for long periods without postings. This is because I was Reading and Absorbing. Then, for some time I was Reading and Avoiding. So, I spruced up the prologue and first four chapters, and, was about to hand them off to a former school teacher friend of mine, who was going to "give them the once over" with her infamous "Red Pen".

Then, one of my "Church Lady" friends put me onto the Ulster-Scots-Agency Website. To which I have a link listed here on my blog titled Ulster Scots Poetry. There you can listen to living and writing Ulster Poets reading their poetry in dialect.

Subsequently, I came to realize that I had written those chapters in a dialect that my ancestors would never have spoken. I find it hard enough to put words in my ancestors mouths to begin with, but to realize that I was putting the wrong words in their mouths was enough to make me conclude that I had even more reading to do!

So, I have endeavored to correct this problem by attempting to teach myself the Ulster-Scot Language more commonly known in Northern Ireland as "The Hamley Tongue" after James Fentons seminal work of the same name.

To that end I have been reading Poets of the the Ulster Province Namely the ones sighted and a series of Illustrated Children's books written by Philip Robinson based on Ulster-Scot Myths entitled:
  • "Esther Quaen o tha Ulidian Pechts" by Philip Robinson
  • "Fergus an tha Stane o Destinie" by Philip Robinson

(interesting note here: Phillip Robinson with two "l"s is the real life name of my nephew.... yet another instance of God saying "HELLO MARK!" or what? I think so anyway.)

The best resource I have found and the one that I am currently enjoying the most is: "Rhyming Weavers & other poets of Antrim and Down. edited by the poet John Hewitt, with forward by Tom Paulin" which I was able to purchase online from

I have as yet been unable to obtain either
"Ulster-Scots: A Grammer of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language." by Philip Robinson OR: James Fenton's The Hamely Tongue. My only access to them has been through website and the YouTube links I have added here.

Comprehending Incomprehensible:

Having set myself to the task of essentially learning a new language at the age of 49, I decided last week to try to compose a poem in "The Hamley Tongue", and then translate it into the language that I speak, and at the age of 49 I am still trying to learn: "North American English".

It is my intent to return to this verse in a years time and try to determine just how successful or unsuccessful I was at this attempt.

By way of introduction to this task I supplied my fellow poets at "EOTNP" with a xerox copy from "The Rhyming Weavers" of an excerpt from the chapter entitled "A NOTE on reading THE BARDS' VERSES" which I found interesting and I also include here:

"As Tom Scot, that fine poet, writes in his trenchant introduction to The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse (1970): 'We today live in a world in which spelling, and that obsessive neurosis, imposed on us by teachers at school, was originally imposed on teachers, and on all society, by ignorant printers who couldn't spell. They had to have everything reduced to an easy standard that they could learn'."

Haven beeen a pwinter fer miur theen fifftween yiers I feel I shood objeckt!

Or, perhaps simply use this as an excuse to go write any old way I feel like without regard for the obsessive neurosis called spelling.

But as much fun as that might be, I am serious about learning "The Hamley Tongue", and doing my ancestors justice.

As anti-climactic as this then may is the verse in question:


aye tha benmaist speirins…

oot o thon bagan

thenicht frea tha tajersome

treadmill o assault

is biggit themorras

lathder o succuss

ach! aiblins naw….



always the innermost questions…

out of that begun

tonight from the tiresome

treadmill of assault

is built tomorrows

ladder of success

oh well, perhaps not…

obeedude 14/june/07

So please! If you have made it thus far in this rant, Comment and let me know what you think.

Then, next year, perhaps revisit it with me, and Comment some more.