Sunday, November 05, 2006

O.E.D. Q.E.D.

a found poem

They are working on the P’s.
Pletzel, plish, polyamorous

Two years.
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 record
Perfect repository
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.

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