A Glut of Collective Nouns

elphants standing on brown soil
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

A Glut of Collectives

Some creatures are packs,
Or are flocks, or are nyes,
Or are schools, or are smacks,
Or are swarms, or are cries.
These names are but games,
Be they clowders or clans:
Unheeded, unneeded,
In knots, knobs and spans.

So what are these words for all critters and birds,
With their bands and their gangs and their cohorts and herds ?
Just gaggles of banter and hunches,
To pep up the huddles and bundles and bunches.

And such linguistic fizz is clearly more than farmers made,
With ferrets by the business,
And ponies by the marmalade.

Let no sneer of pedants
All lather and quack:
“It’s army for red ants
And scurry for black.”
A mole-tain of hillocks,
A cotton of wools,
A bollocks of bullocks
And bullshit of bulls.

Just who are these sods who are playing at gods
With their troops and their squads and their plagues and their pods ?
As if we might ever be caring
To credit each cluster and quiver and glaring.

And so their meanings dwindle till the whole safari’s spent,
With kittens by the kindle,
A
nd ravens by the parli’ment.

 

 

Most collective nouns were invented by the Victorians.  It’s what they did.

 

 

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