Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Meanings eluding me

If you see a phrase in this post that seems to lack good English language logic, don't be surprised. The Internet is full of surprises, and the lack of proper English is just one of them, though probably one of the minor ones.

Fender Telecaster musicians friend is a phrase which I've been trying to get to grips with for the last five minutes, and I'm wondering if it's poetry of some sort. I know what a Fender Telecaster is: an electric guitar (the kind that tends to obliterate other instruments when it's played). It's been around since the 1950s, apparently, and has been continually improved from its original state as a 'masterpiece of design and functionality.'

I'm not sure that the phrase Fender Telecaster musicians friend is a masterpiece of design and functionality, and the missing apostrophe annoys. It might work in its present state if translated into a foreign language where such curiosities are the norm. Maybe.

So is it poetry? After all poetry is a place where oddities of the language appear frequently. I came across just such a one this morning:


I've been puzzling since what 'a manifold honey' might be, or why the line seems so at odds with normal language. Often such lines come right after repeated readings of a poem, or after you've memorised it and it suddenly clarifies itself when you least expect it. (I find this with poems by Les Murray, often, although sometimes certain lines of his elude me entirely, lines such as 


I have a rough idea what it's about, in the context of the poem, but it's by no means straightforward. However, that's the sort of thing you've got to take with poetry; it inhabits a language world of its own, one in which it surprises you by juxtapositioning words that don't like sitting beside each other, or wrenching the grammar around in such a way that you can't figure out a verb from a noun.

So perhaps what I should do is jot Fender Telecaster musicians friend into a notebook or file, and keep it until one day it suddenly decides it's the basis of a poem. (Though I think I'll be obliged to include the apostrophe, or risk my sanity.)



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