“Internet Word of the Day: Hemidemisemiquaver” by Glenn Freeman

Glenn Freeman


Definition: A 64th Note

It’s true I’ve always thought of Mary Poppins
with her supercalifragile thing
a bit absurd, a nonsense word to mean
nothing, nothing to say but the saying
itself a kind of music. But today I
learned this word with its specific meaning
that can only be said with a lilting
musical stride. Spell check won’t recognize
it. Its own trotting gait is what it is.
Go ahead, say it without a little
lilt, a self-conscious kind of giggle
in your voice. When my wife is sad, she says
little ladle. For years, I couldn’t put it
in a poem. Now it sounds just about right.

from Rattle #50, Winter 2015


Glenn Freeman: “I have long been entrenched in the idea of organic form, eschewing traditional forms as archaic or arbitrary. Recently, though, I was sitting with my mother on her deathbed and jotted down notes of things she said in her half-conscious state. Afterward, I realized that with only minor edits, her comments made a sonnet. I took it as a sign and now am looking for ways that everyday language fits naturally into traditional forms. The sonnet, for instance, has now come to feel natural and organic—and urgent—to me.”

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