WordBank Acrostic Challenge: Celebratory Selection Part 1
UOSH Volunteer and poet, Amy Evans Bauer, writes:
Thank you to everyone who got their thinking caps on, filled their boots, threw their hat in the ring, rolled their sleeves up, took up the gauntlet and otherwise accessorised so as to take part in the WordBank Acrostic Challenge call for poems, puzzles and lists!
Participants chose to spell WORDBANK, VOICEBANK or UOSH. The adventurous tried their hand at an advanced challenge of WORDBANK UOSH. We asked for one line or more to begin with a lexical item from WordBank.
We were delighted to receive entries from all over the world taking part in this celebration of linguistic diversity, informal modes of linguistic inheritance and non-standard spoken English. The acrostically challenged from the UK to South Africa and the US got puzzling.
Our writers have their say through words contributed to the Library by visitors born between 1925 and 2000, and explore place, romance, pain, childhood, nights out, and more. We even had an Anglo-Saxon riddle, appropriately enough given the current exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War exhibition, and a re-imagining of the playground chants in the Opie Collection of Childrenâs Games and Songs.
I was struck by the agility of each writer-as-listener, without exception. Entries ranged from witty musings on the process, and a-geographical medleys, to fully-fledged dialect poems fluent in Lallans (Lowland Scots) or Yorkshire dialect. We hope you agree that each reads as a wonderful microcosm of the collection!
I also reveled in hearing how much fun was had by all: âThank you so much!! I loved writing this!!!â and âI had a great time in the WordBank! Itâs the language obviouslyâbut also the accents!â
Hereâs to our nimble wordsmithsâchampion slangsmiths, every one!
âTis the season for two-part creatures (panto, anyone?). In Part 1 of our selection below, youâll find poetry, comedy and riddling. Part 2 will follow with lively lists and 2 longer poems.
If you click on the hyperlinks that we have added to each acrostic, you can listen to the recordings that form the fabric of these intricate, archive-led sonic tapestries.
Weâd run, unleashed from indoors,
Over soft sand and sturdy blades of marram grass.
Racing, panting, spluttering, swither; down to the water then in,
Dodging jellyfish, splashing, squealing,
Brassic fun. I flap with my arms,
Aeroplane aquatics in a shallow lagoon.
Now sand castles. Dig, deeper, thatâs the moat. I
Kneel on something sharp. Blood. âCome and have a cwtchâ she says. âYouâll mend.â
Whauphill whair I ne'er heard the curlew cry
Only Johnny Robb w' his mismatched een
Rules owre the moonllcht fields ahint the byre
Dealin' oot daith while we keep at hame
Bakin' oor breid but scunnered fo' a' that
As the big yins a' bigg their big hooses
Nae less, nae mair, we maun just haud oor tongues
Kennin' a', not greetin' like twa wee bairns.
Lallans (Lowland Scots)
Opies turned their chanted games to wavs
Curses deftly reference Ozzy outback lavs
Eight, nine, tenâs a clean expletive if youâre Pennsylvanian Polish
Bashert is a stoic, Jewish âcâe seraâ
Kosher, ordered, safe, and catalogued.
âAnna Savory @AnnaSavory
Opie: Opie collection of childrenâs games and songs
Wrong, just wrong
outen as we were, holding battery eggs,
runted chocolate. Both half-grown,
dimpsy and mussed.
Bishy you and meâwellâ
azizam, I never quite knew me.
kecks like a shy fey boy.
âKirsten Irving @KofTheTriffids
Donât piss on my shoes and tell me itâs raining
Reading acrostically isâŚ em
Difficult, deffo, at theâŚ em
Best of times.
And this is not the best of times
Nevertheless, I soldier onâundaunted?!
Keep the faith!
Word hoard widening,
Oratory turns to paper,
Random chances of localityâ
Drei the wird of word
Branching like yew, elm, oak, ash
Across skins and seas.
No-one can doubt its power,
Knowing it is heard.
âClare Mulley @simply_spiffing
Play on Anglo Saxon riddle style
If you didnât have a chance last month but would still like to try your hand at a dialect or slang acrostic, we hope you have a spell-tastic time!