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HC 25-26, PB 16-17 - Input Junkie
November 16th, 2012
06:47 am


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HC 25-26, PB 16-17
The man greets Awd Mally, who is something like a woman and something like a stone. "She had never spoken to him; she was not always there. Some said she walked the moors, peering and prying into sheepfolds, owling after souls."

From the Word Hoard: owled after: To hunt as the owl does, silently, stealthily, and with a sudden swoop upon the prey.

"But he thought that she alone stood unmoving, though all else turned: hills, clouds, and reeling stars."

This echoes Charles Williams' Greater Trumps, in which the only real Tarot deck has a matched set of figurines. The Fool is either the only one that's still, or is constantly dancing with all the other figurines.

I'm not sure that it's relevant, but have a little T.S. Eliot anyway....
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

I don't know whether Gilman's stars are falling about dizzily or dancing a reel or both.

From the beginning of the page: "...Awd Mally, grey and lumpish, looking out on her domain, the clouds of earth." Picking up after the reeling stars: "He slept in a ruined sheepfold, back of Cloudlaw, and dreamed: he lay on the fell, stark cold and turning to a cloud of stone, stars icy at his cheek, unturning." We've got the clouds of earth and a cloud of stone, which should be an interesting parallel, but I'm not sure what's intended. I'm pretty sure the stars are "unturning" at the end of the passage because he's stuck in one season.

He dreams: "He was blind. His mouth was stopped with earth, ribs hollowed round a heart of stone: but hands took root, thrawed sinews down and downward, warping."

From the word hoard: thrawed: Twisted, turned awry.

It's a good thing I checked. I was guessing it was related to throw.

"He were tree. Awd crow i't branches cawed and cried: Bone, bone o branches, ah, and eyes of leaf."

The italics look like a reference, but I didn't find anything.

"Leaves falled away til dust."

Just thinking about what it would be like to be a blind, sentient tree. How would having leaves or losing them feel?

"Bones stood bare. But hands, they hawded fast, they wark i't earth. Hand scrat at summat sharp not stone, but fire-warked, cawd iron, siller, gowd."

Presumably, awd = old, hawded = holded = held, gowd = gold. I think we have a pattern. Is it better (from the point of view of reading) to have the pattern made explicit, or to get at the words by guess and feel? This project is about making things explicit, but I'm not sure I'm right about the dialect sound/spelling shifts. What do you think?

"Awd broken ring, he thought."

I assume the ring is sharp because it has broken edges. And that it's not made of all three metals just because rings usually aren't-- instead, they're examples of fire-warked.

"Awd moon. Could never get it back i't sky, were darkfast. Cawd and dead. But the ring grew fast to him, turned O and handfast. Moon leamed under earth."

I just realized that "fast" is one of those double words. It mean moving quickly or (as seems usual in Moonwise) firmly attached.

As I recall "A and O" will be showing up later, and I didn't get the significance sorted out. It might be Cloud and Law.

As found by [personal profile] thnidu: "leam: Of nuts: To separate easily from the husk. Also: To shine, gleam; to light up. OED." Good thing I'd checked-- I'd forgotten the second meaning. That one seems likely to be related to "gleamed", but I wonder if the first meaning is related to any modern words. The second meaning makes easy sense, but the moon unsheathing itself so that its light shines doesn't seem totally implausible.

"O now he saw: the fell was cloud, and starry back of cloud, and deeper still. And all turned headlong, he was branching into dark and moon, turned lightfast with his roots in sun."

His hand is turned to roots grasping the ring, which implies that his legs and feet are turned to branches.

From the word hoard: Lightfast Kindling: Candlemas.

Candlemass: "Candlemas is the last festival in the Christian year that is dated by reference to Christmas; In the West, the date of Christmas is now fixed at December 25, and Candlemas therefore falls the following February 2....On the Pagan side it occurs in the middle of winter, with the promise of spring. Due to the poor weather at the time of year, it was almost impossible to have a bonfire festival and candles are thought to have been used as a replacement to move the ritual indoors."

Good thing I checked. I thought Candlemass was another name for Christmas. I blame H.P. Lovecraft.

As previously noted, the weather lags the the equinoxes and soltices. Candlemas is probably either the nastiest part of winter or when the weather is just starting to get a little better.

From the word hoard: "fell: A hill or mountain; also a wild, elevated stretch of waste or pasture land, a moorland ridge, a down; also a marsh or fen." It's a hill! It's an upland! It's a down! It's a marsh! It's another of those Gilman words! And by the way, a down is a gently rolling hill, not a lowland.

[Middle English doun, from Old English -dne (as in ofdne, downwards), from dne, dative of dn, hill; see dheu- in Indo-European roots.] From The Free Dictionary. I wouldn't be surprised if it's related to dune.

Probably not relevent to Moonwise, but "Down: a flock of sheep, etc. Examples: down of hares; of sheep." I had no idea there was a Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms.

Have 100,000 stars, a lovely video of the stellar neighborhood-- tremendous depth and starriness. The Milky Way has up to four hundred billion stars.

"Broke leaf. Bright swans above him, and his leaves arising in a crown of wings, and crying out: a thrang of birds. He woke to a fleeting sense of joy, winged with a glory and taloned with want."

An expansion of the misery (wore out seven pairs of iron shoes) which is passed over rather quickly in fairy tales.

Word hoard: "thrang: A variant of throng [a thrang of birds] or thronged [The nuts were brown and ripe; they clustered, thrang as stars] but also meaning busy as well [Mally went owling about her hovel, thrang at her obscurer wintry tasks]. “She’s thrang as Throp’s wife” is idiomatic for being over-ears in work."

"No roots, no eggs, and t'brambles all wizened, devil-spat-upon and scathed. No drink, wi'out yon becks ran ale. No breakfast. Eh well, he could thole."

Word hoard: "Caldbeck: Literally “cold brook.” In our world, a village in the Northern Fells of the English Lake District.
thole: To endure, bear, or suffer."

This is less than two pages, but it seems like enough. My apologies for being late-- it was partly a matter of being distracted by Philcon and partly that I couldn't seem to get a grip on the section. Then I decided to just copy out the dream and see what I could do, and the thing exploded.

[personal profile] thnidu was concerned about getting involved with this because he might end up writing a page or more about single words. This almost happened with "down", and I probably haven't explored all the landscape meanings of 'down'.

A non-theraputic way of looking at Ariane's shifting moods is probably to make her part of a myth.

I asked at Ask Metafilter about blood of nightingales, and got this: Persian rugs with nightingales and roses. It's at least plausible, and they're gorgeous rugs.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/997277.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.


(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:November 16th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
What amazing new words. Thank you.
[User Picture]
Date:November 16th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
Here's owling. Did you ever read a book called Owl In Love? I think you'd like it.

"stars icy at his cheek, unturning" sounds to me more like time standing still - not just the season, but the night being stopped in one place, the Dipper not moving around the Pole-star like it's supposed to every night. The seasonal turn of the star-wheel is harder to perceive because it doesn't change that fast.

I love that "Bone, bone o branches, ah, and eyes of leaf." Reminds me of the ending verse of Tam Lin. Dante described the feelings of a blind, sentient tree in the Seventh Circle of the Inferno, the Wood of the Suicides - in connection with that, see also W.B. Yeats's poem The Two Trees.

Candlemas is a Christian name for the Pagan festival Imbolc, which was also called Oimelc, and the meaning of that is "Ewe's milk". That's when shepherds watch their flocks by night - by candles and lanterns, because one can't build a bonfire in the sheepfold - and yes, lambs always do seem to come on the muckiest, snowiest nights of the year.

Imbolc is also called Brighid or Lady Day, and there's a whole tradition around cleaning the hearth of ashes and making a bed by the fire - these modern times, a doll's bed with a doll in it, but once a real pallet for the unknown guest who might come out of the night, like the princess who could still feel the pea underneath. We make crowns of woven bread, with white candles in them like Santa Lucia's, for the maidens to wear as they dance the Goddess turning from Crone to Maiden as she returns from the underworld.

Around here, by Imbolc the Japanese cherry trees are starting to blossom despite the snow; by Beltain eveything is in blossom but it could still snow; Lughnasadh is the hinge between Freezing and Blazing; Samhain is truly Summer's End, and could be either shirt-sleeves or snow parkas. Whether solstices and equinoxes are the first days or the mid-points of our season depends more on what the coastal currents are doing that year than upon the Earth's angle, and I suspect the same thing may be true of the British isles.

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