The other day
I came across the word ‘runcible’
as in ‘runcible spoon’.

The word was invented by Edward Lear
as in ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’.

There is something risible about the word ‘runcible’
as in ‘laughter provoking’
which is different than ‘laughable’,
‘laughable’ has connotations of contempt
as in ‘derisible’ meaning ‘worthy of derision’,
‘derisible’ is almost an anagram of ‘desirable’
but back to ‘runcible’,
there is a great bounce, a great versatility to the word:

he walked out the morning after
humming a runcible tune

he had a runcible air about him
an odour that lingered
long after he had left the room.

the sun rose, red and runcible
in a diffident sky

I once spent the best part of six hour plane journey trying to describe the sunrise. There was no inflight entertainment, I could have used the downloadable app but I couldn’t imagine watching out of date Jason Bateman movies for 6 hours on my phone, so I had picked up a Craig Johnson novel, The Cold Dish, to get me through the flight.
This is the first novel in the Walt Longmire series. Walt is a sheriff in modern day Absaroka County, Wyoming. His wife has been dead 4 years and his life is a bit of a mess but there are various people looking out for him including his best friend, Henry Standing Bear. I know what you are thinking – an American law man with a Native American sidekick!! Anyway Craig Johnson navigates this well enough. There are a number of women in Walt’s life, including his daughter Cady, his dispatcher Ruby, a café owner Dorothy, Vic –his deputy, and Vonnie – a romantic interest. Vonnie is rich, beautiful, and troubled. They are all strong women and they don’t take no shit from Walt.
Walt is at Henry’s bar talking to Vonnie when he gets a call from Vic that a body has been found in a gulley up in the mountains. Walt heads to the scene, the body is hard to get at and the crime scene is complicated by the fact that a herd of sheep has surrounded the body, shat upon it and chewed at the clothes. The body turns out to be Cody Pritchard, a local boy who was involved in the rape of a girl from the reservation and got off lightly. It’s early morning by the time the crime scene has been secured and there is this moment after a long night where Walt, the narrator, says : “I gazed back up to the patch of sage and scrub weed and watched the sun free itself from the red hills”.
This is what amazes me about novelists, they have to handle character, plot, dialogue and create a world for characters to inhabit, for events to occur and they still find time to come up with lines like I have just quoted. So that was it for me, I spent the rest of the flight trying to come up with different ways to describe the sunrise.

As for the book, it’s well worth a read. Craig Johnson creates believable characters, characters to care about, to root for and the whole thing meanders along laconically with lots of witty banter and joshing – the kind of  joshing you would find in a small town cafe at 10  in the morning, one of those cafes with gingham tables and a robust waitress with chemically damaged hair who won’t take any shit from the bunch of plaid shirted retired guys who turn up every morning to shoot the breeze.

the sun rose, red and runcible
in a diffident sky

Taking part in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal

14 thoughts on “Runcible

  1. Sherry Marr

    I so enjoyed this, Jim…….I agree that laughter-provoking is a wholew lot better than laughable…runcible is a very fun word, I enjoyed its contribution to this fine post.


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks for the Kacey Musgrave clip, Sarah, very apt! And yes there are diners somewhat like that! I spent some time on a project in Mt. Vernon, Indiana. I was working night shift and every morning, myself and a colleague would go to the same diner on main street for breakfast when the shift ended .The table cloths were gingham, th e waitress had peroxide hair and there were the same bunch of plaid shirted retired guys there every morning. Difference is it was pretty boring, whereas in movies and novels, stuff happens in diners – information is exchanged. plots are advanced, sometimes, there’s even a murder (Fargo)!


  2. earthweal

    What poetry affords is a way into complex description without taking up all the pages the novel requires to arrive at the same. We’ve already suspended something heading into the sun’s runcible appearance to a sky which couldn’t give a shit. Sounds like a good novel though. B

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ingrid

    A runcible sun in a diffident sky! What better way to start the day? And thank you for the book recommendation, it sounds like good holiday fayre.



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