Philology IV


We pull to a stop in front
Of their woodframe house
Set back from the sleepy
Oak and maple treed street
In downstate New York,
A stone’s throw
From the Hudson River.

My wife’s cousins
Who grew up in the Bronx
And are populating these old dutch hills
With growing broods of Irish Armericans,
Speak English in their own heads
The way it is written
As do I.

I am Canajun, eh?
And I live
North of New York State,
North of the St. Lawrence River.
I say hawkee; they say hackee:
My mouth is vertical; theirs horizontal.

On the eight hour trip to visit,
It amuses me to try to pronounce “hotdog”
Ripping the vowels apart to my ear
Much as, to my ear, they do.
My wife sighs beside me.
As I listen to them in my head,
I hear them put a gutteral
“A” in front of the first “o”
(Which they then distort
To make it part of the gutteral “a”),
Then they put a “w” in front of
The second “o” as: “haahtdwog”.
By the same token, I am sure it
Amuses them to try to verticalize
Their lips and try to pronounce
My word: “hahtdahg”.

There’s a shop near my home that
Calls them by another name: steamers.
I see the sign: “Steamers 60¢

Hi, says my wife’s Irish cousin,
Giving me a hug Good to see you.
It’s been too long. Come on in.

Not a word about hotdogs.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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1 Response to Philology IV

  1. Stephanie says:

    I love this one.

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