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14 July 2004

Magic words

The anonymous verses that are passed down from one child to another often seem trivial if not irrational, but some of them are full of meaning. They are more than just a kind of primitive art: they are also primitive magic. Children are ritualists; they believe in the power of certain gestures and words. Oaths and promises are binding: charms influence events; counting-out rhymes call upon the powers of fate. Even the simplest verse can have an almost magical effect. The child who is taunted with the rhyme "April fool's gone past / You're the biggest fool at last" may - as I know from experience - feel contaminated with stupidity until he or she has shouted back the magical counterspell: "Sticks and stones / May break my bones / But words will never hurt me."

From 'Poetry by and for Children' in Boys and Girls Forever: Children's Classics from Cinderella to Harry Potter

Posted at 08:04 AM in Children and teens, Naming, Nonsense | Permalink


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Tracked on 18 Jul 2004 07:54:47


the riverrun: My vector is rotated and now I sit sideways to my human dimension

Matt Webb's Viconian story [1] (a commodius vicus of recirculation: Joyce [2]) cuts orthogonally through weblogs, traversing the unstable lattice of (Armand on traversal [3] and Notes [4]) the comment infrastructure, and loops back on itself. You could add to it by writing upstream, like this. And if one of the comments is on your website you could break the loop to leave only a fadograph of a yestern scene. A different tranche, a delicate braid.

[1] http://sylloge.com/personal/2004/07/my-first-name-domain-of-this-site-is.html#109025580257927428
[2] http://www.trentu.ca/jjoyce/fw-3.htm
[3] http://www.geocities.com/louis_armand/jjht_technogenesis.html
[4] http://www.geocities.com/louis_armand/jjht_notes.html

Posted by: Rodcorp at 20 Jul 2004 10:47:45