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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Gary Snyder + Robinson Jeffers, Easter 2005

Introducing a new feature: The 18th Century Word of the Day. Drawn from period dictionaries and other sources. My interest -- a novel in progress, The Log of Matthew Roving, that takes place in the 1770s.

HUBBLE-BUBBLE, Confusion. A hubble-bubble fellow; a man of confused ideas, or one thick of speech, whose words sound like water bubbling out of a bottle. Also an instrument used for smoaking (sic) through water in the East Indies, called likewise a caloon, and hooker. [Reduplication of course: on which word, uncertain.]

from A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by Captain Francis Grose, ed. Eric Partridge.

Modern useage: "I'm also mindful that man should never try to put words in God's mouth. I mean, we should never ascribe natural disasters or anything else, to God. We are in no way, shape, or form should a human being, play God."—President Bush, Appearing on ABC's 20/20, Washington D.C., Jan. 14, 2005. From Slate, Bushisms.

A poem from Gary Snyder's latest book, Danger on Peaks. (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004).

Loose on Earth

A tiny spark, or
the slow-moving glow on the fuse
creeping toward where
ergs held close

in petrol, saltpeter, mine gas,
buzzing minerals in the ground
are waiting.

Held tight in a few hard words
in a dark mood,
in an old shame.

Humanity,
said Jeffers, is like a quick

explosion on the planet
we're loose on earth
half a million years
our weird blast spreading--

and after,
rubble--millennia to weather,
soften, fragment,
sprout, and green again.

--Gary Snyder

Happy Easter? My wife's comment: "I wished people Happy Easter and they looked at me to see if I was making a right-wing statement. The religious right has ruined Easter for everybody!"

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