Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dictionary of Newfoundland English: devil-ma-click in a poem by Mary Dalton

The following entry is from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English :

devil n EDD ~ sb 3 (10) Ir for sense 1; for combs. in sense 3: NID devil's claw 2, cp EDD 1 (32) devil's racket 'noise or commotion,' EDD devilskin '[from] devil's kin.'
1 Phr the devil's cure to you: mild imprecation, expression of ill will or lack of sympathy[...]
2 Comb devil-ma-click: adroit, versatile worker; jack of all trades.
C 71-115 Any person who could turn his hand to a number of tasks with more or less equal success was referred to as a devil-ma-click.

Devil-ma-click appears in "First Boat" in Merrybegot, a collection of poems by Mary Dalton, the audio edition of which was narrated by Anita Best with Patrick Boyle on trumpet and flugelhorn; published by Rattling Books in 2005.

First Boat

Eyes like the cornflower. And a
Real devil-ma-click
I knew when I married him.
First boat on the water
"Where's that sun to,
Lollygagging about?" he'd grin
On his way out the door.
Ours the highest woodstack.
Ours the stable stuffed with hay.
Our goats the fattest.
Our quilts the most rumpled.
He'd ruffle my hair,
Grin, "Where's that sun to,
Lollygagging about?"
Our sweat on his shoulders.
His blue eyes blazing.