Saturday, May 31, 2008


The winning word from the Scripps National Spelling Bee is guerdon. From Merriam-Webster:

guerdon \ˈgər-dən\ noun
Middle English, from Anglo-French guerdun, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German widarlōn, reward
14th century
: reward, recompense
When I read the news today, I immediately thought of guerdon as accompanied by thy. But where? Not in William Shakespeare. Not in Ezra Pound. In Hart Crane's poem of the Brooklyn Bridge, The Bridge (1930):
Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky's acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud-flown derricks turn…
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.

And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon… Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.

[Ellipses in the original.]

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