Monday, January 14, 2008


It is not included with the dictionary that comes with Microsoft Word. This is the context (from Margery Dodson’s “Poem”, discovered in Anthology of Magazine Verse 1980):

Entombed in my heart no blood flows to you.
Shadows shine and forget, streamers of strength suck me
great as with child into the etoffe of living.
Who can say what a stone within a stone will do?

I always try to get a word from context before I look it up. Etoffe is posed opposite the “tomb” and “a stone.” So I’m guessing it is a vibrancy, a fertility (joined as it is “with child”).

I ran a Google definition and got only French. Running those through Babelfish I get a compromise definition: richly colored, densely woven, packed with intense but harmonious flavor.

The trouble with all that is, it doesn’t do much for the poem.

Dodson ends “Poem” thus: “walk hand in hand / each long and lovely day, the rutted rue.”


Your turn.

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