Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Trump of Doom"

This was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ng_moonmoth and [personal profile] kelkyag. It belongs to the Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: Rude political humor ahead.  Do not read with mouth full.

"Trump of Doom"
-- a sqerpina

[Monday, November 21, 2016]

In fall, the lots are cast
and the mayhem begins:

a white elephant
marches to victory.

In winter, the hair to
the throne is confirmed:

troll we now
the fooltide carol.

By spring, the disaster
is well in progress:

one orange daffydil
blows the Trump of Doom.

He makes America grate again.

* * *


The Picts are associated with pixies, and some people believe the two are related or even the same. However, the Picts themselves tend to consider "pixie" a racial slur. Pips has a real chip on his shoulder about this.

Nobody knows for sure what happened to the Picts in local-Earth, and even the knowledge of their tribes is patchy. Rome couldn't really get a handle on them even here, and less so in Terramagne. There, some of the Picts have survived as cohesive clans hidden within the larger Scottish society. In T-America, Pips belongs to the Caerini clan, whose name refers both to sheep and goats. They are practical, sure-footed, stealthy, clever, and capable of seeming harmless while they wreak all manner of havoc. Think of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. They're also on the isolationist side, and they speak Pictish only among other Picts. Unfortunately Pips doesn't get along very well with his relatives, due to his peculiar taste in bosses, so he's the black sheep of the family. Walden's people are the Selgovae, which can mean 'scout' or 'guide' as well as 'hunter' -- the translation is imprecise due to cultural differences. A closer parallel may be found in the braves of Native American tribes. They're on the interactive side, and they speak Pictish freely among wider audiences. If you look on this map, based on Ptolemy's map of British tribes, you can see why: the Selgovae are right next to Hadrian's Wall, exposed to many foreigners, while the Caerini are as far north as possible with only other Picts for neighbors.

L-America offers multiple theories regarding the Pictish language, some compatible and others contradictory. Evidence exists to support most of them. In Terramagne, Pictish is a layered language like English. The oldest roots are Pre-Indo-European, compounded by layers of Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Celtic (before the P/Q split, which is why it relates to both), Latin, and so forth.

A sqerpina is a rude satirical verse aimed at mocking someone, usually a person in a position of power. Its name connects to word roots for "cut" and "harvest," thus literally a poem to "cut him down to size," a or "cut-down poem" as it's often rendered in English. The form relies heavily on puns and other wordplay, including cross-linguistic puns and kennings. The Picts have used this form to devastating effect in sociopolitical warfare, for thousands of years, spanning many languages. This variable base requires some flexibility, but the form is traditionally no more than 13 lines (limited by the number of moons in a year) and includes at least one play on the target's name.

*cut (?) *skanto-; *sken-tr-

cut down *kom-bi-n-a


Ultimately derived from *(s)ker- (“to cut”). A general word for 'to harvest' that had a tendency in some stocks to be specialized for the picking of fruit while in others for the reaping of grain.
1. to pluck, harvest
Derived terms[edit]
► Terms derived from the PIE root *kerp-
*kerp- (root verb)
o Balto-Slavic: *kerp-, *kirp-
 Latvian: cìrpt (“to shave”)
 Lithuanian: kir̃pti (“to cut, chop”)
 Slavic: *čerti (“to scoop, draw”), *čerpati (“to scoop, draw”), *čerpъ (“skull; broken piece of pottery”), *čьrpati
o Italic:
 Latin: carpō (“to pluck”)
• Unsorted formations:
o Germanic: *harbistaz (“harvest, autumn”)
o Hellenic:
 Ancient Greek: καρπός (karpós, “fruit”) < *what is plucked, κρώπιον (krṓpion, “sickle”)
o Indo-Iranian:
 Indo-Aryan:
 Sanskrit: कृपाणी (kṛpāṇī, “dagger”), कृपाण (kṛpāṇa, “sword”)

Following the events of "Changing the Conversation," Pips wrote this sqerpina to cheer up Hyperspaceman.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, history, humor, linguistics, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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