Image by Sebastian Unrau


the madrigal, volume iii

The wordkeepers of the idiomorass

by malo gledhill

It is said that syllables are sundered or conjoined,
disposed with meticulous intention into a logically cohesive whole,
And that the underpinnings of an idea rest in the association of shapes.
Repeated or forgotten. Consensus into common speech or esoteric musings.
Solid as rock bed of Fregelien logic.

This was bothering Lewis.
Lewis, who was still learning the ways of words, syntax, and prosody, struggled.
Yet, he wanted to imbibe all the principles of grammar, digest the unending mounds of vocabulary,
and retain the rules of conjugation.
Still, his attempts at erudition would get lost in a pool of knowledge too large for one brain.

This was bothering Lewis.
So, Lewis set out to find the wordkeepers to know every word.
They, surely, would enlighten him on the origin of language and its secrets.
No light task, easy recitation, or linguistic stroll.
Indeed, Lewis was told that the wordkeepers dwelled at the core of the idiomorass.

This was bothering Lewis.
Fortunately, his obstinacy was greater than his displeasure. One step two step
He trudged through the deep mud to find his way through the quagmire.
Passed the wilted, moribund trees into a vast expanse of nauseating ichor,
To forget where he was headed.

This bothered Lewis.
Yet he marched, plodded on, hiked, plunged, and never looked back.
After twenty-six days and twenty-six nights,
He grew tired of the dull, inescapable khaki canvas,
And so he took a moment of respite.

“Topographical abomination.
Very unfortunate situation.
I am hunting for the secrets of orthography.
But its fabled keepers will not hear me.”
He thought, as he recommenced his journey.

Lewis was bothered.
And with each step he thought of words and their scent.
He flew over semantic fields
Frolicked over the bleeding bellows of bantering
Leaped over voracious vernacular

Walloped the exhausting etymology
Chose Cantonese over Academese
Challenged phonetics, diction, and inflection simultaneously.
And lost
His words.

He merched, pluded on, haked, pleenged.
sewed the deep mad, seared the calk
Skipped across the quagmist, greeted morning bud trees
Swalloped ichorous feathers.

Until he found the wordkeepers.
And the wordkeepers said: “In the jeffle of fletterov, we trouve our inspiration,
The resonance of our extrafliation allows for the transmogrification of
A Sound into
A Word.”

Upon hearing this, Lewis headed home.
And on the way back regained his senses.
Henceforth, when Lewis faces a lexical unknown,
He is unbothered, as he knows that the wordkeepers of the idiomorass
Are best left alone.

Malo Gledhill is a French-Australian poet and history student currently residing in Dublin.