Nancy found the word “recautionment” in a paper she was grading the other day, and all I can think when I see this word is how beautiful it is, how amazing it is that a student can imagine this word effortlessly into being as if it had always existed before us, perfect and whole. Nancy believes that it is a synonym, a replacement word, for “precaution,” which might indeed be the case. But what the word seems to mean is something more subtle and satisfying, something like “the process of cautioning someone for a second time.” Imagine these
sentences: “Recautionment is the parent’s permanent charge. Children learn to recognize and avoid danger only with repetition.” I can imagine the federal government devising a Department of Recautionment, which could encompass so many of the current departments that attempt to protect us: the FDA, the TSA, the HSA, the FBI, the ATF, even DoD.
Yet the DoR would protect us from all dangers: those we create ourselves and those created by others and even by forces outside of human control. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing that recautionment is on people’s minds.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Brave New Word
Craig Conley sends along this gem from the blog of poet Geof Huth. It's worth passing along, only for a reminder of the way the poets see the world: