Janet Laugharne

Context Means All

Ysgol can be ladder and school
in my country’s other language.
No surprise, is it, that Wales has exported
all those teachers (maybe still does,
in disguised, social media forms).
Practical word building in the German
Handschuh for glove, Frau and Mann
for both woman, man, wife and husband –
but then there’s Schadenfreude,
a whole other realm of abstraction.
Or terms of endearment in French,
mon petit chou, lost in translation
to ‘my little cabbage’.
And hot dog can’t be literal,
accompanying fries, chips or crisps,
at the sidewalk, freeway, and drugstore.
American and British English so close,
and all the other Englishes, but so different too.
Still, some sentiments travel well:
see you, Auf Wiedersehen, au revoir.

Janet Laugharne’s poetry and short fiction has been published, amongst others, by Atrium, Sarasvati, Black Bough, Litro Online and Reflex Fiction. Alongside her independent projects, she co-writes with Jacqueline Harrett under the name J.L.Harland. Their debut novel will appear in February 2022, published by Dixi Books.