Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 8: The Tree House by Kathleen Jamie

This is a book I had never read before and found randomly on my shelf in Salt Lake. Apparently it's my mom's, who read it while in a Scottish reading group a while back. By the way, Happy Mother's day to every good woman who wants to make a difference in the world...this day is for you. Anyway, the book is a poetry collection from the British Isles. I don't know if it was the language gaps or cultural misunderstanding, but there are some poems that I didn't understand because I didn't understand the words she was using. They are, however, I am sure linguistically interesting, especially the origins. Therefore, for your education and pleasure, I provide some of the words, and a verse or two that I like.

Smirr-There is no dictionary definition available for this word, but the closest thing they could come up with was Smore...:)

Acequias-An irrigation ditch; a southwest Americanism derived from Spanish

Sluice- n: An artificial channel for conducting water, often fitted with a gate (sluice gate) at the upper end for regulating the flow.
v: to let out water by or as if by opening a sluice
It is of Latin origin, a part of Old French that mixed into Middle English, and has lingered on to this day.

Rock rose- Any plant of the genus Cistus or some allied genus

Pipistrelles- any of the numerous insectivorous bats of the genus Pipstrellus of Europe and Asia
It is of Italian origin pipistrello, then transferred to the French language.

Sphegnum- any soft moss of the genus Sphagnum, occurring chiefly in bogs, used for potting and packing plants, dressing wounds etc.
Originally from the Greek sphagnos, meaning moss

Souterrain- A subterranean passage or structure; grotto
Of the French origin meaning underground.

Brindled- adj: gray or tawny with darker streaks or spots
Alteration of brinded, meaning grizzled, speckled, etc.

And finally, a verse that I particularly liked from a poem called "The Bower":

And listing deep,
in the entailed estate,
sure only of its need
to annunciate.

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