____hic | Day 85 of 100

3min read

Imagine we are playing a weird form of hangman. You're currently at this stage...


I have also given you a clue. The two letters preceding 'hic' are identical. Can you think of the word?

The answer is Pyrrhic. Perhaps your bemusement is a bit of a Pyrrhic victory for me in our battle of hangman. I may have won the hangman, but I have probably lost your attention! This is the definition of a Pyrrhic victory, a victory in which I may have won but at a large cost or sacrifice. We often find ourselves day to day in situations where we consider 'cutting our losses', if we do cut our losses we avoid not only a loss but a Pyrrhic victory too. Two good things to be avoided in my opinion.

A pyrrhic though, is a module of poetry or rhythm that is made up of two short syllables. For example in the haiku 'Autograph' by Whereitsdue

It's a dream for some To be loved by the masses Loath to be unknown

'by the' is pyrrhic. Two short syllables together. According to the wiki though, the use of pyrrhics is not a great poetic move according to Edgar Allen Poe (Writer and Poet). He didn't like how formulaic/predictable they are in poetry...

“insisting on so perplexing a nonentity as a foot of two short syllables, affords, perhaps, the best evidence of the gross irrationality and subservience to authority which characterise our Prosody.”

What that means in today's language is “I don't like your lyrics. Fool. Why don't you think of something more original and less vanilla?”. Perhaps Mr Poe would describe the use of pyrrhics in a haiku as a Pyrrhic victory... Though I disagree. If our creativity wants to include or sprout from something we may have seen or come across before, then so be it. Most likely, we're not coming up with anything someone hasn't thought about before anyway. So use your pyrrhics, and don' t be afraid of a Pyrrhic poetic victory. In creativity at least, the determination of a victory is a matter of perspective and frame.