Friday, July 5, 2013

Courtesy Leaps (or the leap of courtesy)

Comrades - I write to ask Stalin to decide
There is no correct answer
What I really want is good imperialism
Kindness - that's the shit

Paris spleen
Fidelity at cost
Please remind me to mind myself
On Monday democracy looks lost

My fortune cookie said charm is severe
Tuesday's undoing
It sails into the blinds
to quell the noxious fumes

Greek splankhnon (from the same PIE root as spleen) was a word for the principal internal organs, which also were felt in ancient times to be the seat of various emotions. Greek poets, from Aeschylus down, regarded the bowels as the seat of the more violent passions such as anger and love, but by the Hebrews they were seen as the seat of tender affections, especially kindness, benevolence, and compassion. Splankhnon was used in Septuagint to translate a Hebrew word, and from thence early Bibles in English rendered it in its literal sense as bowels, which thus acquired in English a secondary meaning of "pity, compassion" (late 14c.). But in later editions the word often was translated as heart. Bowel movement is attested by 1874.


John Olson said...

There was a lost democracy at the pound yesterday. I think it's name was Stalin. I think the fireworks gave it a panic. That's fascinating information about the word 'spleen.'

Celeste said...