a found poem
They are working on the P’s.
Pletzel, plish, polyamorous
They are almost done
(Except that they’ll never be done)
The Q’s will be just a twinkle of an eye
Priz[ing] patience and the long view
And a quality for which it can only strive:
It wants every word:
Idioms and euphemisms
Sacred or profane
Dead or alive
King’s English or the street’s
Perfect mirror of the entire language
Because it is the O.E.D.
Once something goes in,
It cannot ever come out again
Found in « Cyber-Neologoliferation» by James Gleick, in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The piece is subtitled: In the age of the Internet, the Oxford English Dictionary is coming face to face with the boundlessness of the English language.
One of my best girlfriends in college was granddaughter to a woman who worked on the original O.E.D. As an English major I thought that was just the sh*t. I still do.