Smoother Spelling

Good morning everyone,

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word is SMOOTH — an excellent, versatile word.

My dictionary claims this comes from the Old English smōth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems English is the only language with a unique TH sound. And yet more, we’re blessed with two. Consider the SMOOTH TOOTH, for example. Do you have ny idea how much anguish these two sounds give ESL students?

It may have been much handier for learners — and certainly for spellers — had the ancients decided on separate spellings. FTH or THF for the one blown out and TH for the other — as in “this, that and the other” — which would make ‘tooth’ spelled toofth. Youngsters and people with missing teeth are apt to say “toof” anyway, and “fink” instead of think.

Back to things that are SMOOTH:
Once upon a time I took up the hobby of painting on rocks. Just bugs and such, as I don’t have access to the huge, smooth stones such as people by the ocean can find. With less than perfect stones you can use putty to fill in the dips and bumps, but rocks need to be tumbled in water for years, maybe even centuries, to polish them to a smooth roundness.

Beech & stone.Wokandapix
Art by Wokandapix  —  Pixabay

Along the Saskatchewan River, not so very far from us, there are rocks embedded in the soil on the hillsides, but the ones I see are chunky. Right here where we live the soil is classed as dune sand, a once-upon-a-time flood plain. You can dig down ten meters and rarely find a stone of any size. All this sand is great for purifying the rain-water that soaks in.

The water table is high, only about two metres down; the original settlers in this area dug their wells with a shovel. Now one enterprising young man has a high pressure water “drill” and drills holes for posts by washing out the sand and dirt mix. Talk about a smooth operation.

That Elusive Picture

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is PAREIDIOLIA, the gift of picturing some design in ink squiggles, random dots, wallpaper flowers, clouds and such.

Or, as the Oxford Dictionary says:
The perception of apparently significant patterns or recognizable images, especially faces, in random or accidental arrangements of shapes and lines.

This word comes from the German Pareidolien, descended from the Greek combo of para, beside or adjacent to, plus eidōlon, an image.

Here’s my little Paint3D-crafted example. However, if you’re one of those who can’t see the colour green, this will make no sense. (Image by JeonSang-O — Pixabay.) What picture can you imagine in this field of clover?

Clover.JeanSan-O
Clover.JeanSan-O

A True-Blue Blonde

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was EGGPLANT

I will confess my ignorance: I never heard of eggplants until I was an adult, buying my own groceries and cooking my own meals. One recipe book that came along with my husband was The Chatelaine Cookbook; one day I was looking through it and noticed a recipe called Father Fainted. This was an eggplant, tomato & herbs dish that apparently so impressed the writer’s father that she gave it this unusual name.

To peel or not to peel, that is the question. I’ve never pursued the art of creating eggplant dishes because I’m never sure how to peel the things—or don’t you? And since they’re quite bland with no enticing flavour of their own, I pass them by.

When I hear the word EGGPLANT, I rather tend to think of the French word AUBERGINE, which is used quite a bit in England, I gather. And in French an AUBERGE is an inn. I’m not sure just what the connection is there; maybe that’s what guests were fed when they stayed at roadside inns circa 1500?

Then I think of the colour AUBERGINE: “a dark grayish or blackish purple,” according to Merriam-Webster. Which brings me to this tongue-in-cheek verse, a senryu:

cheerful blonde seller
of produce
at roadside stand
aubergine roots

😉

Works of Art

Good morning everyone,

Another spring-like day is beginning here on the prairie, with a fair wind from the south that should melt a lot of our snow. Our temps will drop again this week, they say, but this little break has been enjoyable.

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is MASTERPIECE This brings to mind the old saying, “Different strokes for different folks.”

Here are some images from Pixabay, things I’d call lovely works of art.

Painting.UlrikeMai
Ulrike Mai
Russian dolls
Igor Drondin
Girl.Art.cdd20
cdd20
Pink Cake.Terri Cnuddle
Terri Cnudde
Chocolate.Daria Yakovleva
Daria Yakovleva

 

The Windows of Poetry

April is National Poetry Month and the League of Canadian Poets has adopted the theme, Celebrate nature with poetry. Which suits me just fine: I like to write about nature.

Imagine yourself walking down a long hall with a good friend. In this hallway there are a number of small windows, and as you pass each one, your friend points out some particular scene just outside that window. Something is happening out there that they want you to notice.

Like a painting, a good poem is a window on some scene in life and a book of poetry is like a line of windows. At each one you stop as your poet friend draws your attention to some detail outside. Some writers will make more comment what they’re pointing out, some less.

Poets of long ago gave readers the whole story and their take on what they are seeing. For example, Robert Burns’ To A Louse, is an eight-verse poem about a louse he saw crawling on a fine lady’s hat in church. Seven are saying, “This is what I see”:
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn’d by saunt an sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her—
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

And then the punch line, now famous around the world:
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea’es us,
An ev’n devotion!

These words have resonated with readers of all ages, since we’ve all seen people with foolish notions of their own importance and wish they could see just how their behavior looks to us. Sometimes, on reading these lines, we may shake our heads as we think of situations in the past when we acted like a know-it-all, a snob or an airhead. We see it clearly now, and surely everyone around us saw back then how silly, selfish, or defensive our attitude was. It’s amazing, when we’re trying our best to put on a persona, how much of our real self sticks out.

In our day, poets tend to rather describe what they are seeing and let you draw your own conclusions. I appreciate both kinds of verses, the one that evokes a feeling as well as the one that delivers an understanding — actually a good poem should do both. I have a harder time appreciating verses where I haven’t a clue what the writer is trying to say. No matter what size or style, give me an accessible poem any day.

For National Poetry Month I’m going to try to post a verse a day, plus get my book of haiku & senryu published. I HAD it all prepared, but glitches arose… Today I’m going back to “Self-Pub U” and hope to learn how to insert images properly. Sigh…

Life is learning, and I have lots more to do. 😉