This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Thing To Do Today: have a lark.

Up on the Dunstable downs the air is full of larks. They're hard to see - just dots high up, hardly moving against the sky - but they make their presence felt all the same. Like this:

Lark pie was a delicacy in former times, but when I say have a lark the last thing I want anyone to do is go out and catch themselves a pieful of larks.

Instead, I think today would be a good day for having a different sort of lark.

So: sing in the street. Have a picnic consisting only of pink foods. Recite a limerick*. Wear shoes of different colours. Shout oh no it's not! at those in authority. Reintroduce a fashion for bowing and curtseying.

Have a lark.

Thing To Do Today: have a lark. The word meaning bird (sometimes various sorts of small brown songbird, and sometimes, oddly, a sort of fancy pigeon) comes from the Old English lāwerce and is related to the German Lerche and the Icelandic lǣvirki.

Lark meaning to be playful started off as slang in the 1900s, and may be related to the word laik, which means to play or be on holiday.

*There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
 Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'  

Many thanks, as so often, to Edward Lear for that one.

PS A Dunstable lark, meaning a great big lark, is mentioned by Swift in Gulliver's Travels. No one is sure what a Dunstable lark is, but the Dunstable Downs are a good place for migrating Ring Ouzels:

File:Ring Ouzel Grönvold.jpg

and my guess is it's one of those.

Picture by Henrik Grövald.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting that beautiful song. And it's such a lovely WORD, isn't it, LARK? Just by itself.