It's not about the house.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This Is Just Plain Silly


As far as longest place-names go you’ve got a few to choose
First there’s Tetaumatawhakatangihangakoau-
(which continues) –aotamateaurehaeaturipu-
(and then goes on to say) -kapihimaungahoronu-
(and finishes) –kupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu!

They say it means “The place where Tamatea, with big knees
“Slid, climbed, and swallowed mountains – the land-eater, if you please –
“Played flute for his loved one,” but I don’t know who she was
Or why he played the flute for her, I guess it’s just because.

And then there’s Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerych-
(take a breath) –wyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch
I know you’ll be surprised when I tell you that it’s in Wales
Where apparently they buy their vowels just in close-out sales.

This one is like a map, telling you where to find a church.
St. Mary’s by the white tree there – the hazel, not the birch –
Near the rapid whirlpool, the one by the red cave
Owned by St. Tysilio (I’ve never heard that name!).

So you see by comparison Chargoggagoggmanchaugg-
Agoggchaubunagungamaugg is only half a hog.
I grew up right next to it, Muskego Jeff did not
But heard it on the radio and he never forgot!

The translation has something to do with where the Nipmucs met
To share a truce and cast a line and get their sore feet wet
Some think a syllable or two refers to perfidy
By so-called “English knifemen” – but this is news to me.

I grew up thinking that the name meant “You fish on your side
“I will do the same on mine and – if we both abide –
“Nobody fishes in the middle.” It’s a perfect plan!
Too bad that it was fabricated by a silly man.

At any rate, this is the pun that I was playing on:
I’ve got the master bathroom – also known as the suite en –
Johnny has the other one (he keeps it really clean)
And, if we’re very lucky, no one pisses in between!

1 comment:

LADYSCOT said...

When I saw the second one I knew, before you said so, that it had to be in Wales. I spent a couple of vacations, as a child, touring the beautiful country with the unpronouncable names.