Acronym & Acrostic


This week, strange happenings down by the filthy old canal…

I was out sashaying along the towpath of the filthy old canal the other morning when I was accosted by an ACRONYM – an Asbo-Carrying Ruffian Of Narrow Yob Mentality. He growled something unintelligible at me in his barbaric innit-sprache, which I countered by telling him, as bravely as I could, that I offered him the chance to turn himself from an ACRONYM into an ACROSTIC – an Asbo-Carrying Ruffian Of Spiritual Transfiguration In Christ.

Without waiting for his reply, I whipped out of my pocket my much-thumbed paperback copy of the Selected Poems of duck-mesmerising Victorian Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, and immediately began to declaim, in a booming voice, “God’s Grandeur”.

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God. / It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; / It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil / Crushed.”

The ACRONYM was too sunk in his vacuity to react in any perceptible way, but the words of Hopkins are shocking and mighty and irresistible, and I knew I had the upper hand.

Nearby, on a leaf, a mealybug unfurled its wings and soared high into the heavens.

My work was almost done. I took the ACRONYM by the hand and led him towards the church, where Father Boggis waited with an old rugged cross and a handful of nails. I patted my pocket, feeling for the hammer I carried there. I looked forward to landing the first blow, nailing to the rough wood the filthy ruffian hand I held in mine.

NOTA BENE : For readers outside the UK, it may be helpful to explain that an Asbo, or ASBO, is itself an acronym, for Anti-Social Behaviour Order, a terrifying deterrent to scalliwags, innit.


By Aerostat to Hooting Yard: A Frank Key Reader is available to buy for Kindle from Amazon now.
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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.