’20 A To Z Challenge – M

I don’t exactly hate poetry, I just hate what sometimes passes for, and pretends to be, poetry.  I have written some poetry, and had some poetry written about me.  I am going to introduce you to the word for the letter M Challenge this year.

Musophobist

A person who regards poetry with suspicious dislike.  From the Greek words meaning “Muse” and “fear.”
A person who doesn’t like poetry and is suspicious of it.

This word was used (and probably coined) by the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), who quite possibly inspired more than a few musophobes, with poetry that was as dark and disturbing as Edgar Allen Poe’s works.

Some of the best contemporary poets are song writers.  If you listen to, or read the lyrics to their songs without the music, you find that they reference social situations, with intricate, repeating, progressing word play.  We’ll ignore Justin Bieber, who actually doesn’t write poetry much better than I do.  Justin Timberlake has some good stuff, and I like Ed Sheeran who, like Billy Joel, writes poetry/lyrics about his life.

I’m stuck in the past, liking writers such as Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, and (another) Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues.  THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen, made a name for himself writing intricately-rhyming songs for other singers, before he began performing them himself.  Sadly, in the song Blinded By The Light which was released by the group Manfred Mann, a young singer with a speech defect turned a 1932 “Deuce” hot-rod into a douche.  😳

On a couple of Moody Blues albums, between some beautiful songs, John Lodge does a spoken-word recitation of poems that didn’t turn into songs.  I’ve published them before, but for those who may have missed them, here they are again.

MOODY BLUE

Breathe deep the gathering gloom.
Watch light fade from every room.
Pensitive people look back and lament,
Another day, uselessly spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one.
Lonely man cries for love, and has none.
Senior citizens wish they had some.
New mother picks up and suckles her son.

Cold-hearted orb, that rules the night.
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey, and yellow, white,
But we decide which is right.

And which, is an illusion….

 

MOODY CONTEMPLATION

Between the eyes and ears there lie
The sounds of color
And the light of a sigh
With thoughts of within
To exclude the without
The ghost of a thought
Will exclude all doubt
And to name this thought
Is important to some
So they gave it a word
And the word is ‘OM’

 

WOW #54

Boustrophedon

Here’s another in a long line of words that you’ll never use in polite company – or in any company, I would imagine.

BOUSTROPHÉDON

Languages that are written in the Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin alphabets, are written from left to right. It only makes sense. 90% of people are right-handed, and the right arm moves away from what is being written. Asian languages like Chinese and Japanese are written from the top down, vertically. At least they’re getting out of their own way.

Forgive me for being un-PC, but languages like Hebrew and Arabic are just stupid. Both cultures – Arabs worse than Jews – make a big deal about being left-handed. Somehow it’s evil, allied to Shaitan, The Devil. Yet these languages are written from right to left. It’s only in the last 75 years that technology has partly rescued them, with instant-drying ballpoint ink, and word processors. Before that, writers’ arms covered what had just been written, smudging or smearing the pen or quill ink.

Cuneiform

Boustrophedon is a Greek name for some of the much earlier Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform type of ‘writing.’   This was just wedge-shaped marks, pushed into soft clay tablets. Back and forth – to and fro. Since there was no ink to smudge, a line would be entered from left to right. Then the writer would just drop down a line, and enter the next one from right to left.

The word originally just referred to that form of writing, but the meaning, in Greek, is “oxen turning.” Nowadays, the very few times that it is used, (always by a licensed professional) it can refer to things like the back-and-forth pattern of tweed, or the appearance of an agricultural field which has been plowed – fortunately, with tractors, not oxen – back and forth, up and down, leaving a visual difference between alternating rows or strips.

Getting The Cold Shoulder

ice

Once upon a long time ago, I overcame my failure to launch, got a job, and moved to a city a hundred miles from home. During the middle of February, a nasty cold snap moved in.  One Friday night, my friend and I went to an early movie.  The place was not crowded.

Afterwards, we went up the street to our favorite restaurant. Besides the proprietor, there were only four of us on that chilly night, the friend and I, and two young ladies.  At least that’s what they told us they were, when we went over to introduce ourselves.

After about an hour, they asked if we would walk them home. ‘Why shor!’ As we left the restaurant, I glanced at the big Coca-Cola thermometer, hanging on the outside wall.  It read -18° F, about -28 of these newfangled Metricated degrees.  The walk home involved only that, not even any hand-holding, although it’s hard to hold hands with snowmobile gloves on.  Snowmobiles might have been invented by then, but snowmobile gloves sure hadn’t.

After leaving the girls, we headed back to the restaurant to warm up again before going on home. I looked at the thermometer again as we stepped in.  It had fallen to -23° F, or -30° C, in the hour we’d been gone.  As we sat cuddling our hot chocolates, my pal said, “Do you know your ears are white?”  Like the joker I am, I said, “No, but if you’ll hum a few bars, I’ll try to sing along.”

“No, no! Your ears look frozen!”  I reached up and found something that felt like Michelangelo had carved from marble.  I wrapped my hands around the mug, and transferred warmth to my ears.  I couldn’t feel a thing.  Within 15 minutes I could feel them again, and was sorry I could.  They stung for hours.

The next day I went to a Men’s Wear store, explained what had happened, and asked if they had a solution. The salesman provided a bright-white as-the-snow, 100% wool, skiers’ ear band, which I wore faithfully.  I later found that, while I had not lost the ears to frostbite, the tiny blood vessels had been damaged.  Now if a cool September breeze stirs the leaves on the Maples, the ears don’t like it.

I left the job, moved back home for a summer, moved out again, went back to school for retraining, got a girlfriend, got a fiancé, got married, and wore that headband every winter. My WIFE looked at the now grey-brown abomination on my head, and said, “That thing’s gotta be washed!”

Most of the wife’s family is allergic to wool. Thank the Catholic God and Monsanto for Nylon, Rayon, Orlon, Banlon, Dacron, and Polyester.  She washed it in nice hot water, and dried it in a nice hot dryer, and I got back a nice, paper-white wrist band.  Oops!

We easily replaced it at K-Mart, before they went extinct, but she always felt badly about destroying the original. Some years later, when her knitting skills had improved to the point that she was arguing with knitting patterns and TV knitting show hostesses, she asked if I would like her to custom-design and make me a replacement, this time in a washable wool/polyester blend.  See above, “Why shor!”

head-band

She started with a tube, a basic sock. Then she steadily increased stitches on one side, while adding a simple pattern.  After achieving a desired length, she stopped the pattern, and reduced stitches till both ends were equal.  Now she carefully sewed the ends together, and I have a double-thickness ear protector.  The protruding edge goes down the nape of the neck, to fend off cold breezes and falling snow.

After letting me be the guinea pig, the son decided that he’d like one also. A neighbor kid, watching me shovel snow with it on one day, asked how I got my hair to grow up through my hat.

I once sliced into an old tennis ball, and pushed it down over the ball of my trailer hitch, to protect it from rusting. This was the same kid who asked me how I got the ball to balance there.  I think he’s got all the way up to manager at his McDonalds location.   😯