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Helter-skelter et cetera

February 5, 2013

A propos of nothing, isn’t it strange that in English there are so many quirky little rhyming phrases beginning with H? Helter-skelter. Harum-scarum. Higgledy-piggledy. Hoity-toity. Humpty Dumpty. Heebie-jeebies. Hugger-mugger. Happy-clappy. Handy-dandy. Hokey-cokey. Honky-tonk. Hurly-burly.Hubble-bubble.  I’m sure there are more, if only I could think of them.

I used to think I was the first person to remark on this, but then I came across a poem by Cicely Herbert which is basically a list of all these phrases. (Cicely was one of the people behind Poems on the Underground. I know her slightly; she and I both used to teach at the Camden Institute, and when she left I took over her Creative Writing class there – the very same class in which I taught Andy Stanton everything he knows. I don’t know that that’s relevant to anything, though. This post has turned into a bit of a hotchpotch.)

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