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  • [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


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December 02, 2005


My dad used to recite "the gobble-uns 'll git you!" to us. I wish I had the self-discipline to memorize poems -- one of the things on my list to do "when I retire" (ha-ha). The only things I can reliably recite are a couple of very short Ogden Nash verses and Tolkien's "The Fall of Gil-galad"!

We've got a number of poetry picture books for the girls, from Seuss to R.L. Stevenson, so I hope we'll broaden our own horizons too, not just theirs.

Loreena McKennitt has set "The Highwayman" to music, have you heard it? -- not the same as hearing it spoken, of course, but still wonderful.

I second the plug for Loreena McKennitt! She is one of my very favorite musicians. In addition to "The Highwayman," she's also made songs out of "The Lady of Shalott" and several extracts from Shakespeare.

Also, here's a website you might like:

I loved scary poems for rotten kids. I've been trying to find it and didn't think I could but I guess it just has a different cover.

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