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Syndic Literary Journal

Keening in Writing ~ Proposal  ~ Nonsense

Writeen & Narrated by Clarinda Harriss


Keening in Writing

Write aieeeee, but that sounds like fake Spanish.

Write aaaaagh, but that sounds like fake pirate lingo.

Write aaaaaah, but that spells a moment’s satisfaction.

O King James and all your learned men, didn’t it distress you

that the sound of A as in cat, howled till the throat bleeds,

cannot be spelled in your grandiloquent English?

As for Oh and No, they groan Inhale and Exhale.


My scream’s the breath

the medics forced into your blue mouth.




I told Father Boyce I wanted to go Roman

and confessed the calling was my love

for a man who was not Jesus, was not God.

I asked if my motive was impure. He laughed.

You haven’t thought about the millions who 

convert in order to get married, isn’t that so?

I’d never looked at it that way, although

the man lies buried beside my own stone

in my family’s plot. Yes, I hope our ghosts

can marry. The reasons our flesh could not

will hardly matter to our ashes. I hope the man

will approve. The dead one, not Father Boyce.

I’ll ask him, though he may not have a choice.



Mairzy doats and dozy doats and

liddle lamzy divey

A kiddley divey too

Wouldn’t you?


I dredged it up from my ‘40s kidhood.

My schoolmarm mother explained I could

understand it if I said it out loud a one

syllable at a time. It was sort of a lesson

in phonics. “It should be ‘wooden shoe’ in-

stead of “Wouldn’t you,” I pointed out.

She was so impressed she shouted

“She’s four and already a  genius” to my dad

who was shaving in our Victorian

bathroom.  He grinned a lathered grin..


A day later I reported that a kid would not

eat ivy. Ever. “It tastes so bitter I bet

it’s poison.”  “So you tried it out, right?”

So much for how smart my little brat-

ness was. 

Sixty-some years later my four-

year old dog likes me to sing to her

as we walk. Mairzy Doats is her favorite.

Ever since last Easter, cruellest April, it

has meant We’re walking by the lawn

where we found our best-beloved Man


sprawled dead of a burst heart. Face down

in risen grass.  Mairzy doats to Wooden

shoe, that song’s deepest meaning’s

Just keep walking. Just keep singing.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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