Friday, December 7, 2018

Paul Brookes writes


is a dark link
on his head between patches
of grey and crows feet
chubby fingers
he touches phones
using an eraser
on the end of an HB
thin gold framed bifocals
peer down
at a computer screen
angled lectern upwards
he cannot afford retirement
old man play computer by zhongnaomi 
 Old Man Play Computer -- Naomi Chung

1 comment:

  1. The wrinkles at the outer corner of the eyes, which resemble the feet or footprints of a crow and are associated with aging, were 1st designated as "crow's feet" by Geoffrey Chaucer in his poem "Troilus and Criseyde” in the 1380s ("Till crowes feet be growe under your ye"); in "The Shepheardes Calender" (1579), Edmund Spenser noted, "And by myne eie the crow his clawe doth write." (In the poem Spenser deliberately used archaic spellings to connect it with Chaucer's works.) In the 1940s Robert Graves claimed that "crow" was linked linguistically and symbolically with Cronos, the Greek god of time and harvest. In addition, witches reputedly used crow's feet to cast death spells.

    The word "pencil" comes from the Old French "pincel," an artist's fine camel hair brush; it was derived from the post-classical Latin "penicillus" (little tail), which was also related to the word "penis." Sometime between 1500-1565 a large deposit of extremely pure, solid graphite was discovered near Grey Knotts in Cumbria, England, that could easily be sawn into sticks to be used for writing. (It was called plumbago, Latin for "lead ore," in the belief that it was a form of lead, and many languages including German, Gaelic, and Arabic continue to call pencils lead pens.) Since the Grey Knotts mines were the only source of pure graphite sticks, England had a monopoly on pencil production (though a method to reconstitute graphite powder was developed in 1662 in Italia), so France was unable to acquire pencils during the Napoleonic Wars until 1795, when Nicolas-Jacques Conté, an officer in the French army, discovered a method of mixing powdered graphite with clay and forming the mixture into rods that were then fired in a kiln; the hardness of the graphite rod could be varied by changing the graphite:clay ratio; the higher the clay content, the harder the pencil. In 1802, the production of graphite leads from graphite and clay was patented by Joseph Hardtmuth in Wien. (At the 1889 World Fair in Paris, Hardtmuth pencils, encased in yellow cedar-wood barrels, were rebranded as "Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth.") William Munroe, a cabinetmaker in Concord, Massachusetts, made the first American wood pencils in 1812, and his Concord neighbor John Thoreau also opened a pencil factory there. His son Henry David Thoreau discovered how to make pencils out of inferior graphite using clay as the binder. Both Conté and John Thoreau used numbers to designate how dark their pencils were, but in the early 20th century the English pencil maker Brookman was the 1st to develop a standardized system. Most manufacturers
    grade their products with the letters H (commonly interpreted as "hardness") and B ("blackness"). [However, Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth claims to have been the 1st to use the letters, with H standing for Hardtmuth and B for the company's eventual location in the Czech city Budějovice.]


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