“Smart, well-meaning people get it wrong when they start believing that the world owes them something and that the rules are different for them.” – Guy Kawasaki

In the spirit of making my readers awkwardly self-conscious about their day-to-day word choice, I want to talk about the phrase “s/he means well.” This conversational diversion is often used as an acceptable catch-all for evaluating someone’s actions or character, but I’d like to reveal it’s more common, and more damaging purpose: an excuse. This may seem harmless, but I promise you it’s actually a horrible scourge upon humanity.

I admit that describing another person as “well-meaning” is at times not a big deal. It’s somewhat frequent that you hear someone say something along the lines of, “My boyfriend got me daffodils for Valentine’s day even though I told him years ago lilies are my favorite, but he means well.” Yeah, pretty innocent. Chances are this person’s boyfriend just saw the white tepals (this word is used when petals and sepals are difficult to differentiate) and forgot that the signature corona is a dead give-away. No harm done, right? It would be much worse to hear, “My boyfriend got me roses for Valentine’s Day even though I told him I’m allergic and I spent all day in the ER, but he means well.” Much worse. But before you get too distracted wondering where I picked up my knowledge about Narcissus peoticus and/or telling speaker #2 that they need a new boyfriend, I want to clarify that I’m not saying “means well” is more damaging socially and culturally rather than physically.

Unfortunately we seem to hear “s/he means well” just as often for the little mistakes as we do the big, socially unacceptable ones. What I’m referring to is the frequency with which we hear, “My cousin Steve brought his new Latina girlfriend to Jason’s wedding, and my uncle Philip said some really racist stuff. But you know, he means well.” Yeah, we’ve all heard it. It’s not quite as harmless as the flowers, right? Another bad one is, “My grandma Ellie got completely shnockered at Jason’s birthday party and told Billy he’s her favorite grandson right in front of everyone. We had to call her a cab. But you know, she means well.” If you’re like me, at this point you’re wondering what Jason did to deserve all this.

I don’t think I need to explain the evils of racism and alcoholism, but what I hope made an impact with most of you is how commonplace these situations are. We grow up with these situations and innocuously add “s/he means well,” especially with family and friends who behave inappropriately. It may seem polite to not harp on another person’s issues, but what is really happening is they’re getting a by. I’m not asking anyone to verbally assault their racist uncles, but when you say “he means well,” you’re really saying, “I’m going to deal with this later, i.e. never.”

There’s a real toxicity to excusing someone because “they mean well,” in that you’re ignoring someone’s problematic actions, and it doesn’t just apply to your family and friends. Believe it or not, it’s one of the major problems that social justice and civil rights movements face all of the time. A well-meaning, open-minded person who supports the cause and is willing to join the fight can be damaging overall to the movement itself. Without proper direction, a person’s efforts can be detrimental in a hundred different ways, despite their intention. In other words, a person isn’t safe from impracticality, short-sightedness or false opinions just by virtue of meaning to do well.

We are of the opinion that good intentions are supposed to count for a lot, and I don’t mean to demonize this ideal, but it seems like the people who cite good intentions are most commonly those who aren’t paying the price. “Meaning well” doesn’t count for much unless you have the privilege of your voice being heard. So the next time you excuse someone with “s/he means well,” consider whether or not you mean to give that person an alibi.

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“What is elegance? Soap and water!” – Cecil Beaton

You, as my readers, probably already know how I like to think about words. You may, in fact, be of the opinion that I like to think about and discuss words altogether too much. I should inform you anti-worders, despite how much I appreciate your reading my blog, that this is not likely to change. Anyway, on to the soap.

What? Yes, I want to talk about soap. I’ve been doing some thinking about soap, and the phrases we use that revolve around soap. There’s some pretty obvious ones like “Soap up,” (meaning to cover something or someone in soap) and “wash your mouth out with soap,” (which again refers to soap’s ability to clean things up. Or to taste terrible, I can’t remember.)

If you want to know more about soap and how it is made, here‘s the wikipedia page. The basics, though, are these: “Soaps for cleansing are obtained by treating vegetable or animal oils and fats with a strongly alkaline solution… brings about a chemical reaction known as saponisfication.” So there, you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about soap. You’re welcome. Also, this was probably unnecessary to making my point. I’ll get back to the words.

“Soap Opera” is a phrase used to describe a campy television drama, and believe it or not does actually derive its name from actual soap. These programs certainly aren’t known for their cleanliness, and no, I’m not trying to draw some weird connection between daytime television and fatty acids. “Soap Operas” were given their name because no one watches television during the daytime, and therefore the only advertising the networks could procure was for soap products. Soap is such a commonly-held necessity that its advertising had never garnered much weight, meaning these ads were cheap. So, “soap” is a reference to how poorly funded these shows are, and “opera” is probably a reference to how overly dramatic the acting is (I certainly doubt it’s at all connected to their capacity for musical performance.)

“Soap Box” is another common term (and if you remembered I used it in my last post, you get bonus points) which most people know refers to a person’s tendency to loudly express their opinions in a public forum. You may have also heard “standing on my soap box,” which is even less metaphorical and, yes, does refer to standing on boxes that used to contain soap. As mentioned with “Soap Opera,” soap is a really common item and so it was pretty easy for someone to acquire a box and give themselves an extra foot or so of height for shouting at others. I can only assume that Soap boxes were fairly sturdy, and therefore a good choice for standing on. Fortunately for us, we don’t have to find a soap box to express ourselves any more; we can just use the equally effective tool, Twitter.

“Soft soap” is a less widely-known idiom which isn’t a reference to the brand (though the brand may have chosen their name for the idiom?) It is, however, a reference to leaving the by-product glycerol/glycerin in the newly made soap as a softening agent (those of you who read the Wikipedia article saw this coming.) To “soft soap” someone is to coddle them, or make a subject more palatable. It also mean to sweet-talk or flatter a person. This idiom is probably vanishing as “softer” soaps are becoming the norm, as well as how most people don’t need to make their own soap any more.

“No soap” is probably even more of an obscure phrase, and probably my favorite on the list. This is not a term for a dirty person or a bathroom lamentation. “No soap” is actually referring to the same concept as “no dice,” meaning “I can’t do that,” “I can’t help you,” or “It’s not going to happen.” I have no evidence for why “dice” has outlived “soap,” but I imagine it has something to do with how gambling is still a situational activity and soap is pretty much available everywhere. In essence, lots of people might come up with “no dice” but very few people are in a position of “no soap.”

I’m not gonna soft soap you, there just aren’t that many phrases that use this word. I found these examples interesting and enjoyable too, but no soap, there aren’t any more.

“To make the bloody thing talk the way I do when I’m on a verbal roll, in my idioms and rhythms.” -Gary Lucas

As any immigrant to an English-speaking country can tell you; although English is not systemically difficult to grasp, its rules and exceptions are so at odds with each other that it is a wonder we can call it a system at all. Though it’s pretty common, I still love the quote:

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
–James D. Nicoll

I love English. I think it’s very confusing and convoluted and altogether a lot of fun to study. So, in the spirit of my native language, I decided to research and explain a few common phrases, because why the hell not? I will explain each term, give my initial based-on logic assumptions, and then give the actual origin.

Gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which the abuser leads their victim to believe they are losing their mind. They may either simply deny that some occurrence or interaction ever occurred, or they may go about the more classical example of making small changes in the victims surroundings. Regardless of the methods, the process is at best disconcerting for the victim.

Quick assumptions

Gaslighting was a hard one, though the two words “gas” and “light” being used together certainly led me to believe this term originated in recent history. The best I could come up with was that, perhaps pilot lights on gas stoves, ovens, and water heaters used to go out fairly easily, in essence tricking the owner into thinking they could use their appliance.

Actual origin

The term refers to the 1938 stage play Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the United States). The play’s main character uses systematic psychological manipulation on his wife in order to convince her that she was crazy. The title refers to one of the abuser’s methods was to dim the gas lights of the house (I wasn’t totally wrong!). The play coined the term, despite its name change in the US.

Jury Rig (Jury Rigging):

Jury rigging refers to the act of repairing an object using only the objects close at hand. The makeshift repairs are likely not as functional as the original item or a true repair.

Quick Assumptions

Taking “jury rig’ to mean “using your available resources to achieve the best result,” I defined the words as best I knew how and figured it had to refer to the process of stacking the jury of a legal proceeding in order to have the best outcome. Essentially, the prosecutor or defendant could “rig the jury” with what was at hand.

Actual Origin

The term is nautical, meaning an improvised repair to the mast and yards in the event that the original mast was lost. “Rig” or “rigging” refers to the ropes and structure used to control the sails. “Jury,” on the other hand, is nearly unrecognizable for most people nowadays. The adjectival use of “jury” refers to “makeshift or temporary”, and dates back to 1616 (though the work was edited again, and the author John Smith didn’t get it published as “jury” until 1624.) There are several theories for “jury” in this sense, including: the Latin adjutare (“to aid”) via Old French ajurie (“help or relief”), and a corruption of the term “joury mast,” which was a temporary mast used as a spare should the main mast be compromised.

Jerry Built:

This phrase is often confused with “jury rigged,” and usually is combined into “jerry rigged.” Though for a long time “Jerry rig” was not accepted, it has since been incorporated as an alternate for both the previous phrases. Where “jury rig” is a makeshift repair, “Jerry built” refers to something that is poorly constructed.

Quick Assumptions

Honestly the only use of the word “Jerry” I knew of was a derogatory slang for German soldiers and citizens used in World War II. I assumed that since “Jerry built” is similarly derogatory, it was used as a way to describe something of German make during the 1940’s onward. This didn’t seem right, as for most of my life German engineering has had the opposite reputation.

Actual Origin

Though the phrase’s actual inception is uncertain, it seems to have arisen from 1830’s Liverpool. This may be due to “…the cheap, flimsy constructs of a Mr. Jerry of the Jerry Bros. of Liverpool.” It has also been speculated to refer to other poor constructions, including: the crumbling walls of Jericho, the prophet Jeremiah who foretold decay, and (my personal favorite) the gypsy word gerry, meaning “excrement.”

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some common idiomatic phrases! 

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” -Robert Frost

My friend Alejandra left the States again last Saturday to go back to China. She is actually staying and teaching at the same University I am heading to, which makes sense seeing as she was the person who recommended me to the University and vice versa. She has been in Nanchang for four or five months and came back to see her family, which for me came with some very poignant realizations.

First off, it was nice to see my friend had gone and come back from China, that she was alive and well, etc. I have to be honest, it made me feel a lot better and a lot safer, and I know my friends and family relaxed a little as well. It may just be me, but what starts as a joke (“Well, I mean, China can be very intense and potentially dangerous”) quickly becomes a full-blown anxiety (“What if they steal my kidneys?”), and even though I know my mind was just playing tricks on me, seeing my friend whole and hale and with all her vital organs lets me sleep a little easier.

The other major realization came when I said goodbye to her. Alejandra had a really early morning flight, so I didn’t exactly see her off, but what I did do was send her a message over the WeChat app she told me to download, which I’m sure was just as heartwarming and pretty much the same. What struck me at the time was that, even though I am leaving the US at the beginning of August, I won’t see her again until much later that month. In my mind, my departure date has always been the important part, whereas she won’t see me for roughly three weeks after. 

What struck me was that I am the person she will see the soonest. I am sure she has made friends in Nanchang, but as far as seeing her family and close friends she only had those three weeks. Now, let’s get one thing straight: Alejandra is much more of a badass than I am. I’m not worried for her sake. But it reminded me that I will be doing almost the same thing. My tenure at this University will not match Alejandra’s perfectly, so there will be plenty of time when I will be in the same, semi-lonely position. And if I get my way, I will be doing this semi-lonely, adventure-having thing for a long time.

It’s not nearly as terrifying as it would have been a few years ago. Now, most of these little anxieties just manifest as a weird, internal itch. I find loneliness to be a pretty easy problem to have, especially since the Internet makes it so easy to speak with people in different countries. But with each little realization, I am inching toward a full understanding of the changes that are about to occur in my life. When I come back, which I hopefully won’t be back to stay for several years, a lot of things will probably be different.

I didn’t have that issue when I studied abroad: my friends were still in Bloomington, and my new friends that traveled with me to Barcelona largely came back to Bloomington as well. Basically, everything just got better for me. It probably won’t be the same this time, though hopefully most of the changes will be good for my friends and family. I am fully expecting that, should I decide to live in the States again, my friends will be at much different points in their lives. For one thing, I know my parents will have moved, and my childhood home will be gone. It will be strange to deal with the new realities. I am starting to feel like I am taking a huge leap, hopefully forward, and I’m not sure exactly what I will be coming back to in the future. 

It’s kind of funny to me that I have already written about how bad I am at saying goodbye, and that I wrote that about my last job, which to be fair was only about 7 months. It’s funny because I’m so much worse at saying goodbye to my friends, the ones I’ve known for years. I’ve had to say a few goodbyes already, and more than ever I feel I’m at a loss for words. What do you say to someone who is still in school, but who will probably start their own adventure before you return? What do you say to someone who is in a similar position, ready to start their own life, and yet has just as little of an idea as to what they really want?

I want to say some of those goodbyes again. I want to give better hugs, because I wasn’t really paying attention to how it was supposed to be a “goodbye” hug. I want to come up with the right thing to say, the right amount of confidence and sadness. I want to give better answers than, “Oh yeah, I’m really excited.” I want to have the right words, because having the right words is what I do. 

But I didn’t have the words then, and I wouldn’t have them now. I think the best words I can give my friends are, “I love you,” and “Thank you,” and “Good luck.”

“It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.” -Mark Twain

It’s an exciting time for Zoology and Animal Behavior science. Scientists keep finding new ways to communicate with animals, which means we’re one step closer to interspecies relations like this:

AnimalCrossing_wallpaper_1920x1200-B

Though hopefully without the dead, soulless eyes.

Okay, to be fair, it takes most of these scientists years (sometimes decades) of research to figure anything out, and even then the findings can be tenuous. Still, exciting advancements have been made.

The most recent was just posted last week, when Catherine Hobaiter and her team released the findings of their 18-month study of wild chimpanzee interaction. They recorded 4,500 exchanges and were able to  assign what they call “true meanings” to 36 gestures. By studying these animals in their natural habitat, they have laid the groundwork for Human-chimp relations.

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-trailer-00

Just in time, too. Those mind-melds weren’t working very well.

You probably don’t need to worry about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes becoming a reality just yet, though it does kind of sound like a chimp is responsible for that title. Hobaiter’s team does admit that there is a lot of room for error in their study, that some gestures could have multiple meanings and/or some meanings could use multiple gestures. However, the progress is very exciting. Hopefully with this new information we could interact with wild chimps without needing to do all that training ahead of time. Also we can learn useful things like, “Climb on my back,” and “Don’t rub your feces on my shirt.”

The other really exciting innovation in human-animal relations is in regards to dolphins.

dolphin

Yeah, these little shits.

Everyone knows that dolphins are pretty dang smart, but even though everyone knows this little piece of trivia, every news article ever written about dolphins includes the phrase “Dolphins are widely considered to be one of the smartest creatures on the planet…” Seriously, take a minute and search for a news article about Dolphins. I promise you they’ll lead off the exact same way, or at least it’ll be mentioned in the first paragraph.

While a lot of people are aware that we recently found that dolphins get high recreationally (because nothing says “interspecies relations” like a bonfire and a drum circle), some of us are more intrigued by the new finding where the people from the Wild Dolphin Project have developed a human-dolphin translator that successfully identified a whistle as the word “sargassum.” Like a boss.

Think about it: We have translated a dolphin-word. As in, we have separated a meaningful sound from all the inane clicks and whistles that these adorable little jerks make all the time. Meaning we could reproduce said word, and dolphins would understand it means “sargassum” or at least “seaweed.”

Now, I don’t know a lot about it and I have a lot of questions since the study was of one single pod of dolphins, and while 25 years is a lot of time to study something, I would like to be sure this isn’t limited to that pod. Still, it’s really, really cool, and I can’t wait to be able to talk to dolphins. Also, as a linguist, it strikes me that humans might not be the only species with a predisposition for language. Like, holy crap. Language might be inherent in all intelligent species, and that’s kind of amazing.

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” -Edgar Allan Poe

****Challenge Accepted****

I asked readers to give me a person, place, object, and quest. Janet gave me “housewife, chicago, sponge, winning the lottery,” and I may just be weird, but this is what I came up with:

Once upon a midday, dearie, as I scoured, brisk and cheery,

Over many a stain, with a furious broom across the linoleum floor,

While I flourished, fairly flapping, suddenly there came a pocking,

As of someone gently knocking, knocking at my kitchen’s door.

`’Tis some neighbor,’ I tutted, ‘knocking at my kitchen door,

Only this, and nothing more.’

 

Ah, faintly I am recalling it was as the autumn leaves were falling,

And each vibrant, falling hue did alight the forest floor.

Eagerly, I awaited morning; -for at next midday’s warning

From my numbers on Chicago – the lotto posted at the store –

For the bare and paltry chance brought by the devils at the store –

To name it here is loss for sure.

 

And the hopeful rough undaunted scratching of each jaundiced patch

distilled me – filled me with optimistic dreams never felt before;

So that now, to quell the hopes that filled my heart, I stood repeating

`’Tis some neighbor, requesting respite at my kitchen’s door –

Some nosy neighbor requesting respite at my kitchen’s door –

This is it, and nothing more.’

 

Presently my breath grew calmer, `clearly they are asking alms for,’

`Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was caulking, and so gently you came talking,

And so faintly you came knocking, knocking at my kitchen’s door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –

Sunlight there, and nothing more.

 

Far along the skyline looking, long I stood there wondering, cooking,

Spouting, dreaming dreams of lives I’d never dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the daylight gave no token,

And the only word there half-spoken, was the gasping breath,`Eleanor!’

This I whispered, and she murmured back the name, `Eleanor.’

Merely this, and nothing more.

 

****Next Challenge****

Submit to me your own challenge! Preferably poetry related, but I’ll do whatever. If no one submits anything I’ll just write a weird poem.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -Lewis Carroll

****Challenge Accepted****

I asked readers to give me a person, place, object, and quest. Hannah gave me “Benedict Bandersnatch (you know, Cumberbatch), Maine, stiletto, making the perfect cup of tea,” and of course “Bandersnatch” reminded me of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. So let’s see if I can do it justice:

‘Twas brilliant, and the smaugy combs

Did billow and bumble through the hall

All whimsy were the tales of tombs

And the mum pass by all

 

“Beware the Benedict, my döttr!

The reptile eye, the smiles that catch!

Beware his nose upturned, don’t bother

The frumious Cumberbatch!”

 

She took her lifted heel in hand

Long time the handsome foe she sought

So rested she on Baker street

And stood awhile distraught

 

And, as in uffish thought she stood,

This Benedict, with eyes of blue

Came whistling with a carefree mood

A sunny day in Maine!

 

One, two! One, two! And three, and three

The hightened heel went clicky-clack

And instead of dead, a cup of tea

They went a-throwing back.

 

“And, as thou tamed the Cumberbatch?

Run to his arms, my beamish lass!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

With breath upon his glass.

 

‘Twas brilliant, and the smaugy combs

Did billow and bumble through the hall

All whimsy were the tales of tombs

And the mum pass by all

****Next Challenge****

I will continue accepting “person, place, object, quest,” prompts and turning them into poetry modeled after my heroes’ works. Or you can submit any other type of writing challenge you want from me and I will try to complete it.

“Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession.” -Kingman Brewster, Jr.

After growing up using primarily Apple devices, I recently purchased a little Asus laptop from BestBuy and begun my adventure with Windows 8. I’m familiar with Windows through school and work, but 8.1’s obnoxious apps screen has started to wear on me. So the other day I decided to try out Linux, because knowing how to actually work your computer is for little babies. Just last week I successfully installed Ubuntu on a flash drive, which was about as much of a headache as I had expected. But now at least I can try it out.

There’s still a lot about Linux that I don’t understand. I’m perfectly aware that Linux OS is a work in progress, and which largely appeals to a tech-savvy crowd who prefer a hands-on approach to their personal computers. I also know I’m clever enough to figure it out. Yet somehow I feel I am encountering some unnecessary hang-ups.

This is when I realized it was all the damned jargon.

Jargon is natural, I know. Trust me, I’ve been working in the medical field, and there’s a heck of a lot of jargon to learn. I was even farther behind because I don’t really have a medical background. I still get plenty lost when clinical staff is talking shop, and it’s my freaking job to know what it all means. Jargon is incredibly necessary in a medical setting. No one wants to have to spout off “electroencephalogram” when they could just say “EEG.” And that’s not even considering all the Latin.

Jargon can also be a hindrance, like in my case, as I was on the outside of a fairly specific body of knowledge. In the process of figuring out the different components of the software and following link after link on Ubuntu’s website in an attempt to find an installation guide appropriate for my hardware, I turned to the forums for advice, which is rarely a good idea.

They were using jargon to explain other jargon, and I knew I was in trouble.

In the midst of deciphering the Jargon-ception (We have to go (D:)eeper!) I am pretty sure I found a line that read “connect the BFG to the hyper drive and reverse the polarity,” though I could just have dreamed that after my eyes crossed and I dropped unconscious. At some point I’m pretty sure I was learning how to input source code manually, and don’t worry, I don’t know what that really means either.

Regardless, I eventually figured it out, and now I have a shiny new Ubuntu OS sitting on my flash drive. In case you’re still lost, this is an exciting thing to have. The operating system itself is very intuitive, though I still need to find the appropriate applications to flesh-out my computing capabilities.

So even though I may jokes about it, I guess I am just showing off my own ignorance. Still, I can’t help but feel that though jargon is very useful for quickly expressing a specific body of knowledge, creating impermeable walls of abbreviations and techno-babble only really serves to create exclusivity amongst computer geeks.

Also I say “geeks” the only way it should be said: Lovingly and with great respect. And a little bit of fear.

“The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire.” -Pamela Hansford Johnson

————Challenge Accepted!————

Last week I prompted you to give me a person, place, thing, and a goal. Chris was the only submission and gave me “Caveman, Frozen Wasteland, Wood, Making Fire,” so here’s what I came up with:

 

Sing to me, Nodd and Tuk,

Spirit leaders of our tribe.

Whisper me tales of strength and luck,

And on the winds of history we ride.

 

I will tell you a story of the first ones, the old ones

From ages past, before your grandfathers’ grandfathers,

Passed down to us ‘tween moons and suns

From when we were many, not all together.

 

In the elder days our Mother was wild, alive

In her springtide, the Spirits ran free

And from their likeness, others derived

Creatures from majestic elk to tiny flea.

 

What youth! What greenness!

Fruit and wine did much abound

And in this verdance, Mother’s children keenest

Our grandfathers, the men were found

 

This land of plenty had no lack

And thus no need for clans, just kin

Yet, when wise ones turn minds back,

We find perhaps this was our sin.

 

I can only say we do not know

If the worlds’ turn must be the same,

Or if our coming did begin the flow.

Still, our Mother began to wane.

 

Days grew shorter, nights grew colder

Life itself seemed to have fled the leaf.

As prey does vanish, hunters must be bolder

But as we caused death, we only found grief.

 

As our numbers dwindled, we broke into pairs

One man to hunt, and his mate

Bearing a single child, as food was scarce,

And an extra mouth could seal one’s fate.

 

Of such a match came a child born twain,

A pair of boy-childs, both of good health

And though the hunter thought it too vain

His mate kept both, in spite of herself.

 

But all was not joy, as the two grew

It was soon clear they were down to the bone

To keep from splitting their hearts in two

The strongest young hunter set off alone

 

His steps were unsure, for his journey had not end

There was little to be found, the land unforgiving

But he soon chose a path, his head did not bend

For he knew nothing of hope, only of living.

 

He traveled for miles, past tree and hill

Seeing less creatures and greenery than ever before

The ground underfoot grew icy and still

And still the young hunter kept to his chore

 

Four days without food, he crossed frozen ground

He grew more certain the ice would be his grave

Still he drug along until his eyes found

A tree, on a hill, which might prove safe have’.

 

As he reached its foot, the slope seemed to grow

It stretched to the sky, yet he started to climb

Not far up, a cold wind did blow

And he felt to his bones he was near out of time.

 

He dared not stop, as he knew he would freeze

He dared not think, as he knew he was doomed

He kept in his mind, stories of Mother’s Tree

Said to give of pure life when it bloomed.

 

As he crested the top, he could see for miles

Yet could see most of all that he had been right

The tree was full dead, and for all his trials

He would freeze too, by the end of the night.

 

As if in mocking, the skies did darken

In his despair, he sank to his knees

The winds started howling, screaming, barking

He collapsed on the hillside and began to dream

 

His dreams contained flashes of pure, bright light

And falling, no! Flying like a leaf on the breeze

And with a great crash, he awoke in a fright

And fell to the ground amongst the debris.

 

Surrounded by charred wood, smouldering, smoke

The young hunter was first to awe and admire.

He understood, though she never spoke

He was given Mother’s last gift: Fire.

 

We know he returned the way he had came

To his brother, his home, and their grief,

And though we know naught of his name,

We know he became the first Chief.

 

Thus ends the tale, praise to Nodd and Tuk

Carry it with you, though times may look bad

For though the young hunter had only luck,

Luck was the best thing he could have had.

 

****Next Challenge****

I’m extending last week’s challenge. Give me a person, place, object, and goal, and I’ll turn it into some type of poetry!

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” -Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2.

Hipsters can gossip without end, perhaps

‘bout old Absurdist neck tattoos,

Or Omar Bradley prone, unmoving, still,

With canc’rous tumors gaining ground.

This war is one he cannot win, and in

The closing dark, he sees some dirt upon

His mother’s cushion, what and where it’s from

Unknown, just speculation given now,

Under a coffeehouse umbrella, with

Half-empty wine carafes and bites of pastry.

****** Next challenge ******
Give me a person, place, thing, and a goal. I’ll make a cool poem out of it all!