For reasons that are entirely obscure, I chose to respond to this week’s Writers Group task by composing a poem in the Geordie dialect. Unfortunately, my ears have been corrupted by years of Robbie Burns Nights and Scottish idiomatic turns of phrase, and so my first effort was an unwieldy mishmash of sounds pulled out of the air (or pu’ed out the ayre as Burns might have had it). To say nothing of the corruption my flat Canadian midwest vowels have gone through in their transition to central Pennsylvania, London, and finally Northumberland.
Thank goodness our son, who grew up here in Northumberland and can adopt a Geordie accent professionally, has been able to cast his eye over my piece and together we’ve cobbled together a poetic effort that, I hope, hangs together better as a frank Geordie folk tale. And, of course, a deeper delve into the Geordie Dictionary has helped immensely.
But what fun it’s been, to try to get one’s mind around the different lingos and to parse together some sort of a story, with a bit of rhyme and rhythm in poetic stanzas. This morning I feel like exalting the differences between us, between our ways of speaking and communicating.
Considering that the writerly task was to re-mythologise one of the ancient Greek myths, bringing them up-to-date with a modern sensibility, the sense of the timelessness of language and understanding of our humanity is wonderful to experience.
I hope my effort, nearing completion bar the recording of our son declaiming, will exhibit some of that universality of being a verbally-communicating human.