2 partridges/ 2 mallard ducks/ a Dungeness crab
[interview with WCW, who has just been shown an E. E. Cummings poem and declares he ‘gets no meaning at all’ from it.]
Q. You get no meaning? But here’s part of a poem you yourself
have written: … “2 partridges/ 2 mallard ducks/ a
Dungeness crab/ 24 hours out/ of the Pacific/ and 2 live-frozen
trout/ from Denmark …” Now, that sounds just like a fashionable
A. It is a fashionable grocery list.
Q. Well, is it poetry?
A. We poets have to talk in a language which is not English. It
is the American idiom. Rhythmically it’s organized as a sample
of the /American idiom. It has as much originality as jazz. If
you say “2 partridges, 2 mallard ducks, a Dungeness crab—if you
treat that rhythmically, ignoring the practical sense, it forms a
jagged pattern. It is, to my mind, poetry.
meat balls, dishes, shoes, cups and punches
settled soft as airplanes to the kitchen floor. Frank O’Hara, “A Scene”
Prick-pride, tuzzy-muzzy, slashed-snout
Then, by Friar John’s order, the engineers and their workmen fitted up the great sow that was in the ship Leathern Bottle. It was a wonderful machine, so contrived that, by means of large engines that were round about it in rows, it throw’d forked iron bars and four-squared steel bolts; and in its hold two hundred men at least could easily fight, and be sheltered. It was made after the model of the sow of Riole, by the means of which Bergerac was retaken from the English in the reign of Charles the Sixth.
Here are the names of the noble and valiant cooks who went into the sow, as the Greeks did into the Trojan horse:
Sour-sauce. Crisp-pig. Carbonado.
Sweet-meat. Greasy-slouch. Sop-in-pan.
Greedy-gut. Fat-gut. Pick-fowl.
Liquorice-chops. Bray-mortar. Mustard-pot.
Soused-pork. Lick-sauce. Hog’s-haslet.
Slap-sauce. Hog’s-foot. Chopped-phiz.
Cock-broth. Hodge-podge. Gallimaufry.
All these noble cooks in their coat-of-arms did bear, in a field gules, a larding-pin vert, charged with a chevron argent.
Lard, hog’s-lard. Pinch-lard. Snatch-lard.
Nibble-lard. Top-lard. Gnaw-lard.
Filch-lard. Pick-lard. Scrape-lard.
Fat-lard. Save-lard. Chew-lard.
Gaillard (by syncope) born near Rambouillet. The said culinary doctor’s name was Gaillardlard, in the same manner as you use to say idolatrous for idololatrous.
Stiff-lard. Cut-lard. Waste-lard.
Watch-lard. Mince-lard. Ogle-lard.
Sweet-lard. Dainty-lard. Weigh-lard.
Eat-lard. Fresh-lard. Gulch-lard.
Snap-lard. Rusty-lard. Eye-lard.
Names unknown among the Marranes and Jews.
Ballocky. Thirsty. Porridge-pot.
Pick-sallat. Kitchen-stuff. Lick-dish.
Broil-rasher. Verjuice. Salt-gullet.
Coney-skin. Save-dripping. Snail-dresser.
Dainty-chops. Watercress. Soup-monger.
Pie-wright. Scrape-turnip. Brewis-belly.
Pudding-pan. Trivet. Chine-picker.
Toss-pot. Monsieur Ragout. Suck-gravy.
Mustard-sauce. Crack-pipkin. Macaroon.
Claret-sauce. Scrape-pot. Skewer-maker.
Smell-smock. He was afterwards taken from the kitchen and removed to chamber-practice, for the service of the noble Cardinal Hunt-venison.
Rot-roast. Hog’s gullet. Fox-tail.
Dish-clout. Sirloin. Fly-flap.
Save-suet. Spit-mutton. Old Grizzle.
Fire-fumbler. Fritter-frier. Ruff-belly.
Pillicock. Flesh-smith. Saffron-sauce.
Long-tool. Cram-gut. Strutting-tom.
Prick-pride. Tuzzy-mussy. Slashed-snout.
Prick-madam. Jacket-liner. Smutty-face.
Mondam, that first invented madam’s sauce, and for that discovery was thus called in the Scotch-French dialect.
Loblolly. Sloven. Trencher-man.
Slabber-chops. Swallow-pitcher. Goodman Goosecap.
Scum-pot. Wafer-monger. Munch-turnip.
Gully-guts. Snap-gobbet. Pudding-bag.
Rinse-pot. Scurvy-phiz. Pig-sticker.
Robert. He invented Robert’s sauce, so good and necessary for roasted coneys, ducks, fresh pork, poached eggs, salt fish, and a thousand other such dishes.
Cold-eel. Frying-pan. Big-snout.
Thornback. Man of dough. Lick-finger.
Gurnard. Sauce-doctor. Tit-bit.
Grumbling-gut. Waste-butter. Sauce-box.
Alms-scrip. Shitbreech. All-fours.
Taste-all. Thick-brawn. Whimwham.
Scrap-merchant. Tom T— d. Baste-roast.
Belly-timberman. Mouldy-crust. Gaping-hoyden.
Hashee. Hasty. Calf’s-pluck.
Frig-palate. Red-herring. Leather-breeches.
All these noble cooks went into the sow, merry, cheery, hale, brisk, old dogs at mischief, and ready to fight stoutly. Friar John ever and anon waving his huge scimitar, brought up the rear, and double-locked the doors on the inside.
Putting the rot in clarot
Royal Hunt in Athole [some of these words are opaque to me, but a stank is a pool/marsh/moat and gryce = grease is apparently pork, and a cuning is a cony]
“the big-legged lobster, fit for wanton Venus’ task”
What fish can any shore, or British sea-town show,
That’s eatable to us, that it doth not bestow
Abundantly thereon? the herring king of sea,
The faster feeding cod, the mackerel brought by May,
The dainty sole, and plaice, the dab, as of their blood;
The conger finely soused, hot summers’ coolest food;
The whiting known to all, a general wholesome dish;
The gurnet, rochet, maid, and mullet, dainty fish;
The haddock, turbot, birt, fish nourishing and strong;
The thornback, and the skate, provocative among:
The weever, which although his prickles venom be,
By fishers cut away, which buyers seldom see:
Yet for the fish he bears, ‘tis not accounted bad;
The sea-flounder is here as common as the shad;
The sturgeon cut to kegs (too big to handle whole)
Gives many a dainty bit out of his lusty jowl.
Yet of rich Neptune’s store, whilst thus I idly chat,
Think not that all betwixt the whirlpool, and the sprat,
I go about to name, that were to take in hand,
The atomy to tell, or to cast up the sand;
But on the English coast, those most that usual are,
Wherewith the stalls from thence do furnish us for fare;
Amongst whose sundry sorts, since thus far I am in,
I’ll of our shell-fish speak, with these of scale and fin:
The sperm-increasing crab, much cooking that doth ask,
The big-legged lobster, fit for wanton Venus’ task,
Voluptuaries oft take rather than for food,
And that the same effect which worketh in the blood
The rough long oyster is, much like the lobster limbed:
The oyster hot as they, the mussel often trimmed
With orient pearl within, as thereby nature showed,
That she some secret good had on that shell bestowed:
The scallop cordial judged, the dainty whelk and limp,
The periwinkle, prawn, the cockle, and the shrimp,
For wanton women’s tastes, or for weak stomachs bought.
— Drayton, from Poly-Olbion (a page earlier: birds in the queachy fens, incl dabchick, snigs, and fry)