On the far side of nowhere
Two poets were inventing people.
"Where shall we keep them?"
"In a garden."
Tonight at the Moon Under Water, someone read out an article about rhino horn. Then someone else mentioned whale hunting.
This reminded me of the Inky Fool blog (IFB).
What's the connection between Vikings and a well-known coffee chain?
From memory of the IFB.
In Yorkshire (sub-question, where did Yorick come from and why did he get dug up in Elsinore?) there was a place the Anglo-Saxons called 'Sedge brook'. Sedges are a sort of grassy plant that like the verges of streams, but they are pretty common. It's a bit like calling a moor 'Grasmoor" I suppose.) But the sedges must have seemed distinctive enough to name a small village for them. It's quite sensible when you think about it though. The Strand is just a strand=beach and there must be many beaches. Sedgebrook wasn't Redbrook or Rushbrook, which would have been easily distinguished.
Along came the Vikings and had a big local influence, so it got renamed 'Star beck'. You can see the words are the same but Vikings and Anglo-Saxons just had different dialects.
Back to coffee. As The Inky Fool describes some people from Starbeck acquired the surname 'Starbeck' because that's where their ancestry was from. Back then not everyone was a good speller. So we got 'Starbuck'.
People called Starbuck crossed the Atlantic to Natucket Mass.They became big in whale hunting. They were so famous that when Hermann Melville wrote 'Moby Dick' he called one of the ship's main people, apart from the obsessional Ahab, Starbuck.
Now, when the founders of Starbucks were searching for a company name they looked in Moby Dick. I'm not sure why really but the notion isn't silly and turned out rather well.
To go back to the beginning. Regulars at the Moon Under Water hate rhino and whale hunting.
So perhaps the human race is becoming more honourable in spite of all.
When the game was afoot he didn't care
About having unruly hair.
Dead three years
We dug my grandad up
And washed his bones in wine.
Here's my attempt at an Old English translation. It's probably a bit ungrammatical (comments welcome!) but perhaps Alfred the Great would have a rough idea what I meant.
'igil' is the same as modern German 'igel' = hedgehog, and the online Anglo-Saxon dictionary only knew about snails.
gepíled dom-bana snægles
fære sped on þín burgweg ofer-forþgang
I was very surprised to find this very small exercise made Anglo-Saxon look somehow look much more familiar.
Spiked doom-slayer of the slug
Fare well on your road-crossing.
Kept several chickens.
One pecked him on the wrist
While he was writing 'Oliver Twist'.
Tonight - just a few minutes ago - I saw a hedgehog cross the road near my home.
These little animals used to be common but now seem quite rare, so I was really pleased to see it. But what amazed me was that it knew where to cross. I heard a rustling in the undergrowth and I was pretty sure it was a hedgehog. So I stood stock still. Pretty soon it emerged, and scuttled across the verge towards the pavement, as though it was going to cross the road. It was late and there was very little traffic but still I felt anxious.
Then the hedgehog retreated to the verge and ran off quite a way. I quite thought it had given up the thought of crossing. But no! It was looking from the right place to cross.
There's a crossing for wheelchairs. Not a textured pavement for people with low vision, simply a dropped kerb on each side of the road. The hedgehog clearly knew about this, and when it found the spot across it went as fast as its little legs could carry it. I was really surprised. I guess I shouldn't have been. A four inch kerb is tough if you have two inch legs, and hedgehogs are smart little beasts.
A moon is never lonely
But people can be.
So where are you hiding.
My hand on the left was warm
Where I held Time at first
On the right I held the orb of Beauty but jumped then
Thrown up into the sky
But willing to go.
We will have a good fight first.
No mercy of course.
If we had never had been, you and I
We would still have loved.
Here's a Bee Orchid I photoed on my iPhone last Friday in Milton Keynes UK.
These plants are beautiful and fascinating. The photo is a little blurry but pretend you are a bee, it will lend allure.
The Bee Orchid is one a genus of orchids which try to trick insects of a particular kind into trying to have sex with them.
They visually mimic a female of the insect species concerned and even produce the identical pheromone to attract the male insect.
When the male insect visits the flower and engages in "pseudo copulation" some pollen sticks to its knees and is carried off to pollinate another plant.
At least that's what happens in the Mediterranean, which is where these orchids first evolved.The Bee Orchid has spread northwards though, but without the bee.The one in the pic above almost certainly had a parent that was self-pollinating.
Because of this adaptation the Bee Orchid seems to be expanding its territory in Britain. Look out for it - from mid June to mid July, if you pass a patch of waving grasses with two or three different wildflowers visible, see if you can spot an orchid.
In history orchids have associations even more sordid than their subversion of bees. The name orchid means testicle in ancient (and I think modern) Greek. This is because the plants when dug up apparently have two tubers. Is it true? I don't know, I've never dig these plants up.
This probably influenced the astonishing Anthanasuis Kircher  when he suggested that Bee Orchids grew from bulls' semen, because bees grew from bulls' corpses. The writer was a massive scholar, seldom if ever exceeded, and I would never detract from that. I've always loved scholarship and piling up information and knowledge. I'm doing it now.
But I don't go for the bull.
One counterexample always shows a theory is wrong.
There were absolutely no bulls, either dead or alive, anywhere even remotely near where I saw these orchids in Milton Keynes.
All the same bees are implicated in Bee Orchids and there have been studies of whether male bees that hit on orchids reduce their chances of passing on their genes. It's a delicate evolutionary balance. But the consensus is the male bees do waste semen.
The plot thickens. If you know about the 'Doctrine of Signatures' from my previous posts about plants, or from elsewhere, you can probably work out what bodily part orchid tubers were once considered good for. But it's all a load of orchids.
 Kirchner's work is a sort of Wikipedia for its time. Online at http://ouhos.org/2011/09/14/athanasius-kircher-mundus-subterraneus-1665/
Always wore mascara.
He used to say
It went with his beret.
on the gangplank of existence
just keeps moving
so do we all
In summer when the corn is tall
And sunset seen through poplars
Passing these roses in the streetlight
You would be the stolen one,
And not only your heart.
summer is very bad for us.
tonight, coming home
a stolen rose.
When we met, she kissed me.
I was quite surprised. It seems
She'd read last Summer's poems.
Talking. Warm breaths blow.
Over empty glasses. The sound.
Suddenly reminds us of winter.
Truth to me then was,
I felt the bridge ironwork
warm in my hand.
In the millstream,
I saw two differently colored lights.
In the distance
I heard one dog barking.
Now I relished this summer night
And made it my truth.
Suppose you were told
You were dying.
You'd still feed the cat.
Sir Isaac Newton
Slept on a futon.
He gave gravitation
As his explanation.
Sir Isaac Newton
Slept on a futon.
He felt strong indignation
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