Bri Edwards


Handkerchief............... [The word origin of 'hankerchief'; Musings]


Don't ask how I got the idea. Who would write about a snot rag?
But the idea came into my mind, and on my mind it did nag.
A handkerchief: a piece of cloth used to wipe hands or brow on nose.
Why would I write about something into which a guy might blow his nose?

I don't know why "handkerchief" came to mind while, for a title, I did search.
I suppose even stranger ideas, for a title, from my mind could lurch.
And I never meant to speak of its use, or appearance, or from where the first one came.
Instead I thought I'd write my thoughts about "handkerchief", the name.

So as I lay here wondering what to write...., how to explain the name, .... a thought that I shall share with you...., into my mind came.
Hand-ker-chief, Handker-chief, Hand-kerchief. There! I had it!

A "kerchief" is a scarf-type thing a woman might wear over her hair.
In some places and in some earlier times they are/were common..., but today, I might stare.....
if I saw a kerchief on a head. "What's she trying to hide? ", I might wonder.
A bald head, a bad dye-job, a botched cut? What's she hiding....., "under"?

So perhaps handkerchief comes from "kerchief" and a second word: "hand".
I own a few myself, handkerchiefs, but in my hand one rarely does land.
Mostly they sit in my sock drawer, though one I may carry just in case....,
but it kind of turns me off when a man raises a wrinkled, used hand-kerchief to his face.

(Jan.2013)

Submitted: Monday, February 25, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

'snot'....you can look up that word yourself. i think i have a couple of white handkerchiefs my father used to use. yuck! i believe the thought process that occurred, as i created this poem, is accurately recounted above.

Comments about this poem (Handkerchief............... [The word origin of 'hankerchief'; Musings] by Bri Edwards )

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  • Valsa George (5/9/2013 12:15:00 AM)

    Interesting subject and interesting presentation! In the very old times, handkerchief was exchanged between lovers as a token of their mutual affection and now you have denigrated it as an ugly thing into which a man blows his nose... yukky! ! (Report) Reply

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