Word-envy

There’s a particular kind of sickening and envious delight I feel when I come across words, phrases or even entire poems, which I wish I had written myself. One couplet – written by a South African woman whose name I don’t know but who lives in Stroud – is a good example of this:

Mr Language-man,
let me lick your words…

I would have been shivering with delight if I had written that in my first language. She wrote it in her second.

Another example comes from Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s new album Living with War:

Sister has her headphones on
She hears the music blasting
She sees her brother marchin’ by
Their bond is everlasting
Listening to Bob Dylan singin’ in 1963
Watching the flags of freedom flyin’

Now why couldn’t I think of placing a 21st century teenager in a situation where she’s “Listening to Bob Dylan singin’ in 1963”?

Because I’m not Neil Young, I suppose.

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