(n.) Pronounced- oot-key-are-a
An Old English word meaning
‘lying awake before dawn and worrying’

From Mark Forsyth’s – The Horologicon

Silver leaves flutter under closed eyelids,
a thrill of angst pulses the cold night air,
sleep is vanquished.

The darkened mind rifles through
all the turmoils of the day
seeking out the miscreant.

That wretched uhtceare,
that torments our peace
and will not leave rest unassaulted.

Over and over again go the worries
words and words and words
fretting the hours away till dawn.

‘This may happen’, it croons,
‘Or perhaps THAT!’
‘You cannot be too certain.’ it purrs.

Cackling at our tossing curled body
wasting away in exhaustion,
Uhtceare has its way with us.

Oh Cruel noun, little wonder
you are underused!
Who would dream of reviving you?

Lying awake, before dawn, worrying,
I ponder the Old English, Like the Eskimo,
a word for every nuanced discomfort.

It was enough to know this demon of the night,
without appellation, and now familiar like
an old friend, it waits, patiently for me.

‘How are you this night, oh somnambulant one?’ it whispers.
In a dash, mind snaps open and it is begun.
‘None too busy with sleep, now you are come…’



About sauviloquy

An observer of character, a voyeur of the human condition, an enthusiast for word as art, and an avowed optimist.
This entry was posted in Loquacity, Observations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Uhtceare

  1. sauviloquy says:

    I wrote this poem in April, and had, as per usual, a few views here, a few views there… and then, suddenly in October, this poem has gone completely viral ! (by my standards, that of a lowly unpublished poet, 2 or 3 hundred views packed into one month is something stellar!) I discovered that my poem is the fourth item that appears when you “google” the word Uhtceare. How marvelous, and how very odd. Yet, vexingly enough, my other two poems utilizing Old English words, have not hit the big time yet. Yemelis, and Cearwylm. Let me recommend them to you now!
    Cheers, Sauviloquy

    • Right now, you’re the top result when I google uhtceare! Great poem by the way. I was only after an explanation for what the word meant, but the poem brightened my day 🙂

  2. Pingback: Worry Before Dawn | Jade Mountain Buddha Hall

  3. Andrea says:

    Why worry when you can pray

  4. Pingback: 17 Old-Timey Words You Need To Start Using In Your Everyday Life – My blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s