Maryann Corbett: Dash

1. (v. tr.) 2.(n.) probably from Scandinavian.
cf. Swedish daska, Danish daske ‘to beat, strike’.

It’s violent. More than likely, it came in
with furious Northmen pillaging the coast.
It clung to violence when the King James men
were dashing off translations. Now, at most
it whacks our hopes, although its participle
can modify those darkly handsome males
who gamble, duel, swashbuckle and tipple,
and send romantic heroines off the rails –

or else it plops down in a sentence, where
it sends your tangent blasting off to Mars,
while your main clause gets tangled in your hair
in structures even Fowler could not parse −

Behold! A warlike word, brought to its knees!
(Memo: Dear Vikings, our apologies . . .)