Doggerel: How words originate
With no less than eight beautiful loving dogs at home, and witnessing the birth of three perfect puppies, I am rather distressed to learn that the origin of the word ‘doggerel’ originates from a time when people thought dogs were less than honorary human beings.
Can you just image living in such a heartless age?
“Mean contemptible” associations of dog in Middle English date as far back as the 1600s.
Luckily, we’ve learnt that dogs are better humans than humans themselves and we all live happily together.
However, doggerel which means trashy poetry (Collins) or attempts at poetry where the rhyming is so forced it is instantly recognisable as a case of trying-too-hard.
And thinking little of dogs as they did even until the 1800s, they added ‘rel’ some sources say, to display a negative quality. Others suggest a diminutive use, hence doggerel. But there is no argument about the ‘dog’ reference to the origin of the word.
Days later, I thought about it again, and reminded myself that my true nature is to take up any challenge that is presented. So here is my doggerel.
Way before dawn
Four came out
Only three came home
Now we nurse with fear and doubt
Puppy rearing is not for the faint-hearted
Because too many are dear and departed
Before three weeks of age
Leaving the world blandly beige.