Synzeugma


Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.


The taut rope dangled into the cold and unknown darkness. I was prepared to ride my McGuire Rig into the nothingness of the long-abandoned mineshaft. Unlike most mineshafts I’ve encountered, this one went almost strait down. It would be particularly difficult to get back out, but I was prepared with a device that would lift me out with its electric motor. My headlamp barely pierced the black density that lay below. It was rumored by the locals that there was “something” at the shaft’s end. Nobody was willing to venture a guess as to what it was. When I asked, they shook their heads and turned away.

I was going down. It got warmer and warmer. Down, down, down I went. Suddenly, I heard a woman softly singing “Paddy’s Lamentation,” a song I learned as a little boy at my mother’s knee. The hair on the back of my neck bristled. I was terrified. When I reached bottom, terror and amazement struck my entire being. There, chained to the wall was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen—clean and wearing perfume that made me giddy and drew me toward her. There was a key to her chains on the ground in front of her. “Please unlock my iron fetters you comely lad and we can return together to the sunlit lands. I will serve you, have your children, and give all the worldly pleasures you may imagine.” As I bent to pick up the key, my headlamp caught the visage of a glaring human skull. I stood and looked more carefully. There was a pile of dismembered bones, with marks from being gnawed. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t understand with my mind fogged by the perfume. Like a fool, I turned her loose. She came rushing toward me and embraced me softly. “Up we go my lovely man,” she said looking me directly in the eyes. I hooked us up to the rig, facing each other and pressed the green button that would prompt the electric motor to raise us to the surface. As we neared the surface, she held me tighter, crying softly in my ear. As we emerged she let go, pushed away and tumbled screaming back into the mineshaft.

I immediately pressed the “down” button on the McGuire Rig to find out what had happened to her. When I reached to bottom of the mineshaft, there she was, a bloody heap on the floor. Dead. It was time to get the hell out of there. As I was ascending, I heard a woman’s voice softly singing “Paddy’s Lamentation.” Given all the craziness, I thought I was imagining it, but now, I’m not too sure. I’m going back in spring. Rationality be damned. I love her.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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