An extract from Eunoia, one of my favourite books this year, about the delights of being out in nature in the summer. Can you spot what is unusual about this passage?
Hiking in British districts, I picnic in virgin firths, grinning in mirth with misfit whims, smiling if I find birch twigs, smirking if I find mint sprigs. Midspring brings with it singing birds, six kinds (finch, siskin, ibis, tit, pipit, swift), whistling shrill chirps, trilling chirr chirr in high pitch. Kingbirds flit in gliding flight, skimming limpid springs, dipping wingtips in rills which brim with living things: krill, shrimp, brill – fish with gilt fins, which swim in flitting zigs. Might Virgil find bliss implicit in this primitivism? Might I mimic him in print if I find his writings inspiring?
Eunoia is the shortest word in English containing all five vowels – and it means “beautiful thinking”. It is also the title of Canadian poet Christian Bok’s book of fiction in which each chapter uses only one vowel.
Mr Bok believes his book proves that each vowel has its own personality, and demonstrates the flexibility of the English language. It’s even better when listened to.