A pea-green boat, a runcible spoon & a lot of nonsense¬†#EdwardLear #poetry #limericks #London #May #nonsense #morals

Poet, Edward Lear, was born in London of Danish ancestry on 12th May, 1812. 
His ‘Book of Nonsense’ was published anonymously in 1846 and holds his most famous poem ‘The Owl & The Pussy-cat’ as well as over 100 limericks.

From the age of six he suffered from epilepsy and asthma. Despite being a sufferer he was still able to write creatively with a unique humour and to decorate his rhymes with fanciful illustrations.

His favourite nonsense word which was his own ‘sweet’ (‘they took some honey and plenty of money’) creation was ‘runcible spoon’ from ‘The Owl & The Pussy-cat.’  The word runcible appeared many times in his writing, defining different objects.

runcible cat’ 

runcible hat’

runcible goose’

As I tap away, scribing this tidy little blog, my iPad already dislikes the word, runcible, stating firmly ‘No replacement found.’ 

Moral 1: don’t let computers say to you, ‘wrong word, stupid.’ How are we to produce anything new, weird and beyond the ordinary?

Moral 2: don’t let being a sufferer stop you from branching out beyond the ordinary and making something work for you.

Since the 1920s dictionaries have come to define the term ‘runcible spoon’ as a fork-like utensil with two broad prongs and one sharp curved prong. 

A grapefruit spoon? A pickles or hors d’oeuvres spoon? Whatever your social habits, Edward Lear created spectacular vernacular.

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‘Never the Time and the Place’

May is an inspiring time for poets. A fresh green carpet of newness, buds, flowers ready to bloom, fruits to come, warmer air & circling swallows; the year is promising, bright & full of beauty & optimism. At the age of 70, Robert Browning (who resolved to become a poet age 14) composed these lines just after his May birthday in 1882: ‘Never the time and the place And the loved one all together! This path – how soft to pace! This May – what magic weather! Did he take a walk around Regent’s Park, steps away from the Marylebone church where he’d married his wife Elizabeth (now, long dead) wishing her to be with him…in this time, this place, on these paths? I wish I could ask him. Parks are full of lonely wanderers & poets love them. They clear your head & stimulate new ideas, mix these ideas with a dreamy countenance, a play on words, nature & love, and poetry flows… ‘Through the magic of May to herself indeed!’