A reflection on the word "bailiwick." Winner of The Daily Poem, July 14 2020.
“Bailiwick,” what a strange, medieval sound,
bearing echoes of sheriffs and bailiffs,
not the fellow with a gun and a star
or the brute come to take back the tube,
but the memory of bold Robin Hood
in his feud with Nottingham’s sherrif
(inexplicably spelt with two Rs and an F,
it being the English way in the day)
and his henchmen, the bullying bailiffs,
squeezing peasants for their last silver coins,
till good Robin and his camouflaged friends
turn the tables and introduce
their own scheme for distribution of wealth.
How strange that these days
we have taken the word and bent it to mean
our special area of expertise, the ground
we’ve found to proclaim our province,
unwittingly thereby to equate ourselves
with those baddies in the reign of King John.
Oh, the vagaries of language!
Line Count: 20
For The Daily Poem, July 14 2020