Real Orghast

More from Phil Baker’s biography of Austin Osman Spare, one of the chief pleasures of which is its plethora of anecdotes and asides. Such as this:

In the 1960s Ted Hughes and Peter Brook attempted to develop a language called Orghast, effectively a magical language where words would have “a more inevitable relationship to reality”. For example, the Orghast for “darkness opens its womb” (“staple of any phrasebook” as a cynic writes) is BULLORGA OMBOLOM FROR.

I would like to learn and become fluent in Orghast. Apparently it has a vocabulary of some two thousand words, but of these only about fifty count as “real Orghast”, according to Ted Hughes, and he should know. I wonder what the Orghast is for “By ‘eck, Sylvia, when you first kissed me you drew blood”.

I hope, when I have mastered the fifty magic words, that I do not have the dismissive attitude of Rayner Heppenstall towards another invented language

I had never thought highly of Esperanto (my father had once tried to make me learn it, but when I found the word for bird was ‘birdo’ I could no longer take it seriously).

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