Written for: dVerse Poets Pub – Quadrille #82 (posted by Kim)
“Fretboard of Poetry”
The word ‘fret’ has its origins in Old English fretan meaning to ‘devour or consume’ and is related to the Dutch vreten and German fressen.
Its verb form means to be constantly or visibly anxious, or to cause anxiety to someone . It also means to gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or wearing away (‘what shape the sea has fretted into the land’) or to flow or move in small waves (‘squelchy clay that fretted between his toes’).
The noun ‘fret’ means a state of anxiety or worry (‘why would anyone get themselves in a fret over something so simple?’)
In art and architecture, a fret is a repeating ornamental design of vertical and horizontal lines, such as the Greek key pattern, and in heraldry it is a device of narrow diagonal bands interlaced through a diamond. The adjective ‘fretted’ means decorated with fretwork (‘intricately carved and fretted balustrades’). The origin of this meaning is Old French frete – ‘trelliswork’.
Another meaning of ‘fret’ is a ridge on the fingerboard of some stringed musical instruments (such as the guitar), used for fixing the positions of the fingers to produce the desired notes.
Fretting was a way
of life for her.
Least half an hour
before someone was due
to arrive, she would
stride up and down,
frowning, every so often
moving a blind to peer
out window. She worried
about everyone in her
family except herself.