Friday, August 19, 2016

Caroline Hartley writes

Day 158 11.05.16

The heavens high
with a delightful chorus
absorbing my thoughts.
in the potent spectrum of Spring
I linger a while
as though a child in a tuck shop
lost in the longing.
Drawing me down
the ground dazzles with droplets of rain
resting upon blades of grass
after the showers.
Wild flowers
now in full bloom perfume the air
declaring pink campion
amongst dandelion clocks
and lots of brilliant bluebells.


  1. British wildflowers are often as wild in their associations as in their beauty.

    Silene dioica (Melandrium rubrum), commonly known as red campion or red catchfly, is abundant throughout the British Isles, including Northern Ireland (though rare elsewhere in Ireland). On the Isle of Man it is known as "blaa ny ferrishyn" (fairy flower) and has a local taboo against picking it.

    The dandelion evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia and has been used as food and herbs for much of recorded history. Its Latin name (Taraxacum) came from its medieval Persian name (tarashaquq), which Gerard of Cremona (translating Arabic to Latin ca.1170) spelled “tarasacon.” Its English name is a corruption of the French “dent de lion” {lion's tooth, referring to the coarsely toothed leaves, with equivalent Welsh (dant-y-llew), German (Löwenzahn) and Norwegian (løvetann) names; but it is also known as blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch's gowan, milk witch, yellow gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest's-crown, puff-ball, faceclock, swine's snout, white endive, wild endive, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, and piss-a-bed (and the French “pissenlit”) refers to its roots strong diuretic effect. In various northeastern Italian dialects, it is known as “pisacan” (dog pisses) because it is often found at the side of pavements. In Swedish, it is “maskros” (worm rose) because of the small insects (thrips) that ate usually present in the flower; in Finnish and Estonian, it is “voikukka” and “võilill” (butter flower); in Lithuanian, "pienė" (milky).

  2. In English, Hyacinthoides [“like a hyacinth”] non-scripta is called the wild hyacinth, wood bell, fairy flower, bell bottle, and bluebell (but this is the name given in Scotland to the harebell, Campanula rotundifolia). It is particularly associated with ancient woodland, where it produces carpets of violet–blue flowers in so-called "bluebell woods." In his seminal “Species Plantarum” (1753), Carl Linnaeus described it as a species in the genus Hyacinthus; “non-scriptus” (unlettered, unmarked) distinguished it from the ancient Greek hyacinth (which was almost certainly not the modern hyacinth, but was perhaps the iris). [Hyakinthos was assigned various parents (Pierus of Macedon and Clio, the Muse of history, after Aphrodite punished her deriding the goddess' own love for Adonis; or he was the son of a Spartan king, either Oebalas, Perseus’ son-in-law, or Amyclas, the brother of Eurydice. When he ran to catch a discus thrown by his lover Apollo, the jealous Zephros (the west wind) caused it to strike Hyakinthos and kill him. Apollo transformed his spilled blood into a flower, and his divine tears stained its petals with the letters "AIAI" ("alas"). In the Spartan version, Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis took him to the Ēlýsion pedíon (Elysian Fields), the afterlife alternative to Hades which was reserved for mortals related to the gods, other heroes, the righteous, and those chosen by the gods, where they would have a blessed, happy existence similar to their earthly lives. Hyakinthos was also the first man to have a homosexual relationship, with Thamyris, a Thracian singer who challenged the Muses to a singing contest; if he won he would have the privilege of having sex with all of them or of marrying one of them. But of course he lost, and the Muses not only blinded him but also took away his ability to make poetry and play the lyre.) In 1797 James Edward Smith argued that “nutans” (nodding) was a more fitting epithet than non-scriptus, but in 1803 Johann Centurius von Hoffmannsegg and Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link transferred the species to the genus Scilla (the original Greek name for the sea squill, Drimia maritime), making “non-scripta” entirely irrelevant. In 1849 Christian August Friedrich Garcke transferred it again, to the genus Endymion (now a synonym of Hyacinthoides). [Endymion, a son of Zeus and one of Deucalion’s daughters, was an Aeolian shepherd or hunter, or an astronomer, the first human to observe the movements of the moon. The Titan moon goddess Selene saw him sleeping in a cave on Mt. Latmus and so loved how he looked that she asked Zeus to allow him to remain that way forever; Zeus granted him eternal youth and eternal sleep. That did not, however, prevent him from fathering 50 daughters with her. In other accounts, it was Endymion who chose to sleep forever in order to remain deathless and ageless. Or, Hypnos, the god of sleep, caused him to sleep with his eyes open so he could fully admire his handsome face.] Finally, in 1934, Pierre Chouard transferred the species to its current placement.

  3. A tuck shop is a small retailer that sells pastries, candy, and perhaps school supplies such as stationery. The term "tuck" (or "tucker") is slang for food and probably originated from such phrases as "to tuck into a meal." "Tucker" may have originated with the lacework at the top of 19th-century women's dresses, but as a synonym for food it probably arose from the popular shops run in England by various members of the Tuck family between ca. 1780 and 1850, beginning with Tuck's Coffee House in Norwich, which was popular among the city's literary circles. In 1820, William Joseph Tuck was a confectioner in Hackney, just outside London, a fashionable locale for picnic outings and holidays. His son Thomas was the baker at "The Bun House" at the same location in the same location before moving with his brother William to Australia in 1852; Thomas became a confectioner in the gold firlds, while William opened a store in Melbourne.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?