This is just poetry. It won't save you, but it may locate you so that a rescue party can be sent out. — Dean Blehert

Monday, May 25, 2009


Her poem had a dull refrain:
Each time she got to it,
I wished she would.

[A rather dull note (for most readers): So how does "refrain" come to mean both "hold back or rein in" and a bit of verse or music that is repeated, a chorus? Two different words, actually. Both have "back" ("re-") in them. One holds back a response (refrains) and one goes back to the same chorus again (to the refrain). But the frain part in the first is from a Latin word for "to curb" (frenare), which comes from frenum, rein. In the second "refrain," my dictionary says it's from an old French word, meaning to restrain or modulate (hmmm--"restrain" sounds like the first "refrain"), which is from Latin "refringere," to break back, "frangere" meaning "to break." I suppose the song's refrain is a break in the song's forward progress to go back to the chorus.

This makes me suspect the words are joined again at some deeper root, since one uses a rein to "break" a horse, but I don't have time to track it down. In any case, that poet's dull refrain would not go away (as in "Frain, Frain, go away...", a pun that makes more sense now that I know Frain is rein, which, to make sense in the nursery rhyme, we would write as "rain", and that would be right as rain.]

[Will you cease this dull refrain
You've been etching on my brain,
Or forever in this vein,
Repetitiously insane,
Go on forging this steel chain,
This excruciating bane,
Rendering all my pleadings vain?

Quote the poet, "Evermore!"]


Dean Blehert
Blogs: (short poems) (essays and longer poems)
New book (Deanotations, Volume 1) available at

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