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Poem: "Palimpsest Candy" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Palimpsest Candy"

This poem came from the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by janetmiles.

Many of you probably know the quoted poem as "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  Here I've used the author's original title.

Palimpsest Candy


"A Visit from St. Nicholas"
was written in rhymed couplets
so compelling and memorable
that it soaked into the culture:
visions of sugarplums
danced in their heads
long after the children
had left Earth behind
and along with it
both sugar and plums.

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6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
addergoole From: addergoole Date: February 10th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
*bounce* <3!

~Lyn, in the wrong lj right now.

I would be more specific, but it's a small tidy poem that just pulls you right from "Visit" down to plums.

Why did you choose to use the original title rather than the better-known one?

Interesting poem title, as well.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 11th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>I would be more specific, but it's a small tidy poem that just pulls you right from "Visit" down to plums.<<

That's okay. It did that for me too!

>> Why did you choose to use the original title rather than the better-known one? <<

Variously: This was the author's original intention. (Though on technical grounds, I have to count "Twas the Night Before Christmas" superior, for the same reason as "Escape" vs. "The Piña Colada Song.") I also wanted to stretch the temporal range back to the author's time: look, we've already lost the first title in common usage, people just call it by its lead because that's catchier. This way, our subjective time lies between that of the author and that of the protagonists. Plus I like the assonance in "A Visit from St. Nicholas."

>> Interesting poem title, as well. <<

Oh, that -- a palimpsest is a piece of parchment that was scraped clean of ink and reused, often repeatedly. You can treat it to retrieve different layers of ink. Language itself is a palimpsest. The "candy" just refers to the sugarplums, and assonates with "palimpsest."
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: February 11th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)

<3

I knew I knew that word! Lead-type-printing class, back in Best Job Evar!

Language itself is a palimpsest.

<3

Yes.
eseme From: eseme Date: February 11th, 2011 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
That is a great commentary on language. We have so many of those expressions that stay around long after the original phrase no longer has cultural meaning.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 11th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I love fossil phrases like that. I imagined a conversation going something like this...

Child: "What's a sugarplum?"
Mom: "It was an Old Earth treat made from sugar and plums -- that is, refined sucrose and a type of purple fruit."
Child: "Wasn't refined sucrose sort of toxic?"
Mom: "Well, yes ... it took people a while to figure that out."
Child: "Eeewww."
Mom: *sigh* "Just imagine it a dried whatselberry instead."
Child: "Mom, 'whatselberry' doesn't scan."
Mom: *SIGH* "Hence the sugarplums."
Child: "Okay. Can we read A Christmas Carol next?"
Mom: *facepalm*
eseme From: eseme Date: February 11th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Ha!

I love that dialogue.
6 comments or Leave a comment