Some Original Anagrams

Mike Keith 1999. All Rights Reserved.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night...

This is an anagram of the first sentence (whose first seven words, at least, are quite famous) of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel Paul Clifford. A hundred years or so after he wrote it, Charles Schultz appropriated those seven words as a running gag in his comic strip Peanuts.


It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at
occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind
which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies),
rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame
of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.


Tut-tut! Bulwer-Lytton's known penchant for inelegant, stagnant,
over-affected, cost-inflated prose evokes mirth a hundred years hence.
Ah-ha! A well-known comic strip talent hatches it - a textual gag for a dog:
(Snoopy wags his tail, sits at his typewriter, fidgets, and then
distills a classic theme: "It's raining, there's no light...")

Dante's Inferno

This is a simultaneous anagram and translation. The English text is
both an anagram of and an approximate (close as I could get)
translation of the first four tercets of Canto III of Dante's "Inferno",
from the original 13th-century Italian.
Anagrammy winner
June 1999


"Per me si va ne la citta dolente
  Per me si va ne l'etterno dolore
  Per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore;
  Fecemi la divina podestate,
  La somma sapienza e 'l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
  Se non etterne, e io etterno duro.

Queste parole di colore oscuro
  vid' io scritte al sommo d'una porta;
  per ch'io: "Maestro, il senso lor m'e duro."

"I am a portal to a sad place.
  I am a cover to eternal fire.
  Go, see our pit ooze craven memories.

Elite persistence moved some creator;
  Divine omnipotence created me;
  I am solo orgies of primal love.

Listen: ere me no denizens used our portal.
I quit not, and I last eternal.

Crazed and curious, in a daze I sat
  To see man pour out over a portal;
  So I said: "Master, I cannot see its import."

A Doubly-True Anagram

This one anagrams 30 elements from the Periodic Table
of the Elements into 30 other elements (and all 60 elements
that appear in the anagram are distinct):
Anagrammy winner
May 1999

hydrogen + zirconium + tin + oxygen + rhenium + platinum +
tellurium + terbium + nobelium + chromium + iron + cobalt +
carbon + aluminum + ruthenium + silicon + ytterbium + hafnium +
sodium + selenium + cerium + manganese + osmium + uranium +
nickel + praseodymium + erbium + vanadium + thallium + plutonium =

nitrogen + zinc + rhodium + helium + argon + neptunium +
beryllium + bromine + lutetium + boron + calcium + thorium +
niobium + lanthanum + mercury + fluorine + bismuth + actinium +
silver + cesium + neodymium + magnesium + xenon + samarium +
scandium + europium + berkelium + palladium + antimony + thulium

But there's more: if we replace each element by its atomic number (position in the Periodic Table), there is still equality:

1 + 40 + 50 + 8 + 75 + 78 +
52 + 65 +102 + 24 + 26 + 27 +
6 + 13 + 44 + 14 + 70 + 72 +
11 + 34 + 58 + 25 + 76 + 92 +
28 + 59 + 68 + 23 + 81 + 94 =

7 + 30 + 45 + 2 + 18 + 93 +
4 + 35 + 71 + 5 + 20 + 90 +
41 + 57 + 80 + 9 + 83 + 89 +
47 + 55 + 60 + 12 + 54 + 62 +
21 + 63 + 97 + 46 + 51 + 69 = 1416

A Haiku

In this 5-7-5 haiku, all three lines are anagrams of each other. This is an interesting constraint because it means the three lines all have the same number of letters but not the same number of syllables. Note that it also follows the custom of mentioning one of the seasons.

Greet thinned, riven wine
  In the red winter evening;
Tee, drive ninth green - win!

Apparently, a drop of the "fruit of the vine" helps one's golf game.

Deuteronomy and "The Avengers"

Deuteronomy 32:35 in the New International Version runs as follows:

It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."

Being a fan of the TV show The Avengers this verse was already appealling (note the red word), and this also suggested that it might be interesting to try anagramming it. Hence:

See how our Steed in his dapper suit and lithe Emma in her
ivory dress limit lame flirtation while outing Tory opiate fiends.

A Stately Anagram

This little poem celebrates the distinctly American musical genius Thelonius Monk. Can you guess what is an anagram of, given the clue that the title and text of the poem contain exactly 100 letters?

Viva United States of America

Monk? Hmm . . . jivin', man!
Honk, known champ - damn!
Calmly twirl, mystic vox,
And dancing skyward, waltz.

Answer: this is an anagram of the fifty two-letter U.S. state abbreviations.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

This is stanza 71 from Edward FitzGerald's renowned translation of the Rubaiyat (third edition).

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
  Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.


Time flies as an Arrow through miry day new
Not Watch, Sloth, nor Twirling can anything do;
  Roll a Verse or Couplet - lo, luv'r, view:
Fruit flies like a Banana, too.

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