Days of Yore

“What does yclept mean?” he queried,

peering from A Boy’s King Arthur,

published in 1910. He was eight and a half,

an avid fan of the Knights

of the Round Table, engrossed

in every book he could find.

This one was filled with antiquated

language, and as always,

I found a teaching moment.

Grabbing my two-volume set

of the Oxford English Dictionary,

I opened the tiny drawer and pulled out

the magnifying glass with a flourish. He sighed.

“Ah, it’s the past participle of clepe,”

I crowed. Which of course necessitated

opening Volume 1, to the C’s.

“Mom,” he complained, giving the word

several extra syllables of moaning O’s.

“It’s archaic, look!” I had him read

aloud its meaning: to name or call.

He was exasperated. “I knew that

by context!” He showed me the sentence.

“The sword yclept Excalibur…”

I savored our shared

knowledge quest

while he privately vowed to keep

his questions to himself

and relish uninterrupted reading.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: archaic