South and Past of Atlanta
A specter arises from ancient sheets, dusted,
with tar drenched day dreams of Georgia roads,
and twisted magnolia trees,
growing jagged tin flowers,
and look at the nightmares,
and all that appears,
to haunt the lady of the house,
five generations and a lifetime ago,
for refusing to protect,
the secondary mistress of the plantation.
she folded the silver-stained sheets,
and wrapped the little sin in them,
and when she turned to face the mother,
her eyes turned dark,
a reflection of the dark skin before her,
and the horror was complete.
A sickly mewling thing,
smothered in cotton,
it killed them all,
one way or another,
and the mother, weak.
Miss Anne would have told you,
And her great-great-grandchild was puzzled,
as she searched in the house that survived Sherman's march,
when she opened the rosewood chest,
that was locked so tightly,
all the way from glory days,
to find a bundle of rags,
and as she picked it up,
with both hands,
small bones fell to the ground,
and she wondered how a mouse got in there,
when the skull dropped.
(She remained nameless)
Choices Already Made
Another old poem!
Falling off a cliff-
Scrabbling for purchase-
Just barely hanging on.
Only a paw, dripping with blood.
Only a web, pulsing with souls.
Holding me paused, frozen prey.
A spider beneath, a wolf above.
How can I choose?
"Stay and play," Say the wolves.
Their muzzles a flash of terrifying teeth.
"Embrace your fate," Says the spider.
Weaving as it speaks.
Life's mist and dew, smoke and ash.
All a lie, all a truth.
Nearly gone, almost over.
The end won't matter,
For we'll all fall down.
TBT: The origins of expletives
Good day, Prosers.
In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look at the origins of swearing. The full version with beautiful imagery can be found later on the blog site.
Let’s face it, most of us turn the air blue at some time or another. We often bleed blue ink when writing, too. Those that are offended by swearing, please look away.
Swearing, cursing, profanity and expletives all perform certain psychological functions, and use particular linguistic and neurological mechanisms; similar in behavior to chimpanzees when angry. Yes, it’s actually a form of anger management! But where did the use of expletives originate?
Unsurprisingly, many swear words have been around for thousands of years, and, of course, we have a lot to thank the ancient Romans for when it comes to swearing as a form of naughty language.
Swear words tend to fall into two categories, oaths and profanities—like taking the Lord’s name in vain—and then there's obscene words, including biological terms as well as sexual and racial slurs.
The Romans gave us a model for the obscene words type of swearing, Melissa Mohr explains in her book ‘Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing’. Like us, their swearing was similarly based on sexual taboos, but with a different spin. “The Romans didn’t divide people up [by being heterosexual and homosexual],” she says. “They divided people into active and passive. So what was important was to be the active partner.”
Hence, the sexual slurs used were more along the lines of words the likes of pathicus, a rather graphic term which basically means receiver. Ooer!
Swearing and cussing as we know it evolved much later on, with certain theories of their origins being acronyms savagely disregarded due to how late their examples as acronyms appeared.
"For unlawful carnal knowledge" or "fornication under consent of the king" are both false explanations for the word fuck and have a catalogued etymology. As for placing the letters S.H.I.T. as a precaution against potential explosions on containers at sea, apparently standing for "ship high in transit" — well, just no. The word shit has a much older and documented history.
Fuck can be traced back over 500 years to Norwegian fukka and Swedish focka, both meaning "to copulate." The OED's second edition, cites its use in English as fukkit in 1503, but the earliest current spelling appears as "Bischops ... may fuck thair fill and be vnmaryit" from poet Sir David Lyndesay in 1535.
“Shit is an extremely old word that’s found in Anglo-Saxon texts,” Mohr says in her book. What English-speakers now call arses and farts can also be traced back to the Anglo-Saxons, she adds, though in those times the terms wouldn’t have been considered as impolite as they are today, simply biological.
Shit as a noun nods to Old English scitte, meaning "purging, diarrhea." And just the basic form of excrement stems from Old English scytel. The action, however, has a much more widespread history — Dutch schijten and German scheissen. The Proto-Indo-European base skie conveys the idea of separation, in this case, from the body.
As for Piss, English includes this as both a noun and verb. The verb appeared in the 1300s from French pissier, "to urinate," and vulgar Latin, pissiare. The noun came later, in the 1400s, and eventually morphed into an intensifying adjective — piss-poor, piss-ugly, etc. — around World War II
Still cussing, yet to many a lesser version, is the word Bitch. As a female dog, its use dates as early as the Old Norse bikkjuna. Its use as a term of contempt to women, though, began in the 1400s.
The word is first seen used this way in the Chester Plays of the 1400s. "Who callest thou queine, skabde bitch?" Basically, "Who are you calling a whore, you miserable bitch?”
"The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," published in 1811, calls bitch "the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore."
We have looked in depth at the etymology of several swear words on this blog before, all of which can be found listed in the comments section below...
But what of that which offends the religious? The term profane is from classical Latin profanus, literally "before (outside) the temple". It carried the meaning of either "desecrating what is holy" or "with a secular purpose" as early as the 1450s CE.
Profanity represented secular indifference to religion or religious figures, while blasphemy was a more offensive attack on religion and religious figures, considered sinful, and a direct violation of The Ten Commandments. Moreover, many Bible verses speak against swearing.
In Medieval times oaths were believed to physically injure Jesus Christ as he sat next to his Father in heaven. Phrases such as “by God’s bones” or “by God’s nails,” were looked upon as the opposite to ceremonies conjuring Christ’s physical body in a wafer and his blood in wine.
Goddamn followed and clearly compound word of "God" and "damn." "Damn" originates from the Latin damnare which means "to condemn." And God originated with Norse goth.
The French brought the two together by referring to the English as les goddems during the Hundred Years War because of their frequent profanity, according to Geoffrey Hughes' book, "A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths, and Profanity in English."
So which is your favourite to use and does it make you feel better to do so? Do you not swear or cuss at all? Whether you do, or not; you will never be censored when writing on Prose. So come all over our pages if you want, or fucking don’t if you don’t.
Until next time,
But Only For You
If you're sick
I'll make us
If you want
To be alone,
I'll lock all
Of the doors.
We'll turn on
My TV and
I don't care
If people doubt
Falling in love
All that matters
Is your hand
And the smile
That makes me
Forget my pain.
Followed by a Brief Biographical Interlude
Smart cats. Chicken fat.
Black boots. ’talian roots.
Destiny went & blocked my ride.
Blue cars. Candy bars.
Orange Socks. Throwin’ rocks.
Providence chose to pick a side.
Ask that guy, over there, with the short peppered-hair,
If he has the di-rec-tions to find Love’s next con-nection.
“Dear John.” Black Swans.
Narrow roads. Lawns mowed.
“Sorry that your Dad just died.”
Bad grades. Razor blades.
Missed parts. Broken hearts.
Guess you’ll run away & hide.
Looks like I’m lost: Should’ve “crissed,” not’ve “crossed.”
Now I’m making a U-turn, based on all that I’ve just learned.
Cute kids. Katydids.
Deadlines. Orange rinds.
Waxin’ on a big tall slide.
Dead dreams. Sun-beams.
Wide right. “Outta sight!”
“Go ahead & kiss the Bride.”
It’s all been a side-show, with two drums & a banjo,
As I tap-dance so uncertain & my family drops the curtain.
Overweight. Interest rates.
Lost homes. Garden gnomes.
Everything that makes me cry.
Fallin’ down. Lost crown.
Broken hips. Dry lips.
Sorry that I ever lied.
Ask that guy, over there, in the white sugared-chair,
For his posh "chic" confections that help coat imperfections.
Moment in Time
You were raw and naked in your wandering light
I opened my palms toward your retreating back
a loose canvas upon which I could paint my own strokes
You touched me as caressing wind gently touches daffodils
I inhaled your presence into my essence, tasting you
yearning to tender you a cup of passionate soul
to offer you my world of fresh juicy peaches dripping
needing to stroke your sinewy hands in my sleep
I sighed in my solitude watching your ghost
in my rays of light retreating in the misty distance
your image frozen icicles in winter of my memories
I hung on, gripping the fleeting image of a stranger
whose fragrance crept stealthily into my life for only
A MOMENT IN TIME
September (quiet autumn things)
With autumn, I'm a quiet thing,
the skirt of fog trailing as
engines whine alive. Go find me
among the grinning burs, restless
with some tale of me; in
cyclones of dust; my kiss
on every balmy blade of grass and
One day, I will shake the bones out of these trees.
I know that you want more from me.
But today I watch the red sun
between seams of rain clouds, curled
up in some spot of warmth, a
quiet thing with autumn - let me sleep.
Your Soul on the Winter’s Day
I am sitting alone on this winter's day
and I wish that you could be here with me
but I know that you're gone and far away
and there's nothing I can do, unfortunately
but I know your soul will stay with me
and I know you're at peace; happy and free
I walk through the forest on an early morn
with my cheeks blushed pink and my boots laced tight
my whole body is chilled, but I don't care for the warm
the ice won the battle that the fire couldn't fight
and I swore, as I walked I could see you in my sight
but it was just a lingering shadow from yesterday's night
You were the shadow of yesterday's night...
I followed the tracks that the deer left behind
in hopes that i'd be able to find you there
but I got to the end where the new snow shined
and I knew that possibility was rarer than rare
and I took an inhale of the crisp, clean air
and walked away aching, with the feeling of despair
In the air
I knew you weren't there...
I wonder sometimes if you whisper my name
or if I have just lost all my senses now
but your soul feels like a soft, scarlet flame
and I feel this is something I must avow
and I still feel your kiss upon my brow
and I need you to be here with me now
Be with me now...
I still see your face etched into my mind
your fascinating features, so delicate and warm
our two resplendent souls are forever combined
and I fight back the tears of my internal storm
and I wish you would find me and help me transform
into a beautiful rose without any thorns
Oh, how I mourn...
They do not rattle, or clink
Nor do they rust
But bind so tight, I think
They will turn me to dust
So strong are these chains
That remain so silent
Checking my pain,
And curtailing my violence
Quiet are they among my mind's fray,
So that unwilling ears may listen -
A focus made sharper each day
By their rough metal friction
Fortunate I believe I am,
As regrets and thoughts surround
Grateful, though damned
Sins linked by lengths wound
And so it goes, this lifelong sentence
My due for deeds so dark
A fitting penance, no repentance,
Each elemental mark
If life was my only chance,
No wonder I harbor this hate
Kept in line by a winding dance
I joined myself -