to coney-catch an

ambodexter needs a

swipe both sides

of that nikum’s face


gotta appeal twice right?


rouker talk outta do it

make him think he’s a

percher of some sort


ruff it up and step back


before he knows it all turns

swerk and we teen him proper

now he’ll pay ear rent all year


This submission is for my prompt over at  Real Toads which encourages the penning of a poem using words from a list of ‘older, once common language.’ The full list, uncovered by The University of York, is available over at The Imaginary Garden. Why not pop over and write one yourself?

Notes: for my piece I used the following words from the list.

Ambodexter: One who takes bribes from both sides. Coney-catch: To swindle, cheat, to trick, dup, deceive. Nickum:  A cheating or dishonest person. Rouker: A person who whipers or murmurs, who spreads tales or rumours. Percher: A person who aspires to a higher rank or status; an ambitious or self-assertive person. Ruff: To swagger, bluster, domineer. To ruff it out/ to brag or boast of a thing. Swerk: To be or become dark; in Old English often, to become gloomy, troubled or sad. Teen: To vex, irritate, annoy, anger, enrage/ To inflict suffering upon; to afflict, harass; to injure, harm. Ear-rent: The figurative cost to a person of listening to trivial or incessant talk

Poem also submitted to OLN at dVerse

43 thoughts on “sting

  1. kim881 says:

    You had great fun with this! And you had me chuckling, Paul, especially at:.
    ‘before he knows it all turns
    swerk and we teen him proper
    now he’ll pay ear rent all year’.
    This could catch on.

    • paul scribbles says:

      Thanks Gayle. The words were taken from a list published by the University of York. They were once in common use and it was postulated that some may find their way back in modern conversation and writing. The full list is in the prompt link. Well worth a read.

  2. Magaly Guerrero says:

    I love, love, ADORE this! You chose the perfect words to tell us just how terrible the subject is, how much he needs to his, and how good it will be (for the rest of us) when he does. And your reading, oh your reading! Just marvelous…

  3. Namratha says:

    Took me quite an effort to get it having to each time read the meaning of the words. But looks like you had so much fun with it. Ought to give it a go if its still open at real toads!

  4. katiemiafrederick says:

    Poems of Hierarchy
    Tribalism in
    oF hOlding
    down to beat
    A Ladder uP.. hmm..
    some humans immune
    As A Laughter oF FoRest Roars
    Piper seen
    Piper gOne
    FLute aGaiN
    SonG oF Free..
    coMes BacK MoRE..;)

  5. alisonhankinson says:

    It is full of character….and reminds me of all the lost words we have- ginnel and the like. A very interesting prompt, and my favourtie bit was- before he knows it all turns swerk and we teen him proper. It sounded like e got a right pumelling….thanks for putting the meanings in too- it helped…

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