Sunday, September 20, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


ripples across the dark surface of the pond flashing now with gold and red against the heavy gray dawn, standing beside the rivulet counting the tock of the deer scare, bubbles of breath break the surface as the koi feed, shadows, last night lightning not sleeping, dreaming; not dreaming, sleeping ... all the same kettle of fish, too many yeses, too many nos, illusion, lighting a candle in the darkness, this old rustic took up his brush

Dream (Japanese: Yume; Chinese: Mèng)

Sunday, September 13, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


leaf shadows falling    falling      falling


photograph by M Simoni

Sunday, September 6, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


dense dark clouds lowering across the wooded slopes him sitting in a dim corner tatami lumpy, smell of damp straw, empty head, open hand, neither yes nor no, naught but illusion, a good morning to breathe. Seeking the perfect inhalation. exhalation, inspiration, ichi  ni  san  shi  go  roku  shichi  hachi  kyu  ju  ichi  ni  san  shi like the ripple of creek eddies and little back splashes over well-rounded stones the moon still on the quiet pond, the white ducks come to feed diving, sleek underwater, rising to breath, breathing in and breathing out like matsuda playing with segovia in the park with his pudgy fingers and old nylon string guitar amongst the pigeons and gulls ise maybe or nikko 1957 or eight so long ago the bamboo bow once strung taut now not, but bending with the exhalation waiting waiting ichi ni san shi until the arrow flies of its own accord who knows where THWOCK!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


rain drenched rocks lined the path of sodden leaves...master ko standing in the rain, old wooden gap-tined rake in hand, blue bandana draped over his head. To her entreaties he says, chinese fella say, no workee, no eatee. ha.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


benri-ya---you say 'han-dee-mahn'---that's all ... leaning on a wooden handled broom with long reddish bristles, an old man wearing a patched and thread bare saffron robe, ran a knobby knuckled hand over the short gray stubble on his head, looking at mia, sucking his yellowed teeth, 'bout time you come, he had said ... handyman? laughing, handyman ... when dry he swept clean the stone steps up haguro to the shrine; when wet he cleaned the temple, the lodgings, the pagoda, the bell tower or simply sat in his small hut ... how long? how long, he muses, how long ... since before dirt, laughing, bobbing his head ... a few swipes with the wooden handled broom ... came after hiroshima, sucking his teeth, a-bomb ... bad comes from too many heads in soup, laughing, bobbing his head ... live here good place with myself

photograph M Simoni

Sunday, August 16, 2020

hidden behind the leaves


name just ko, a finger tracing ideogram in palm of hand: ... that 'ko', mia says, and ko says, or this one ok too, drawing: ... old, child, says mia ... ko laughs, old child, bobbing his head...sitting on stone bench outside haguro shrine, clouds, the long road south to kanazawa, to kyoto, ise, north then to tokyo, ate bananas ... chuckling at the thought ... then on, north and west and home all at once in haguro

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

CONVERSATIONS with a Hypoxic Dog (CwHD) is now entitled WHIMSY. This is still a weblog about words and language and other inanities. CwHD began May 1, 2017. All posts are available in the Archives. The Bookstore opened in July, 2017, providing an overview of my published work. Essays are published monthly. More or less.


Archaic words are those terms which were once used commonly in a language, but which are now rarely used. They constitute a slow eddy, a back water, a stagnant pool in the stream of sound and image that is language. A synonym for archaic is antiquated which means characteristic of an earlier or more primitive time. Take primitive with a grain of salt. Homo sapiens today are no more evolved than the cave painters of Altamira. Evolution, like the water cycle, does not work towards perfection, only towards efficacy. And the same can be said for language.

The internet has a plethora of sites that list archaic words. Cheyne is such a word. Meaning? Pronunciation To read Shakespeare these days one must be well versed in archaic language. Both words and rhythms have changed over time.

Fools had ne'er less wit in a year;
For wise men have grown foppish,
They know not how their wits to wear,
Their manners are so apish.
(King Lear, Act I, Scene IV)

Not only is his language Elizabethan (17th century), but he also relished the words and phrases from the middle ages (roughly 1000 to 1500 CE). The Canterbury Tales (1387) provides a plethora of tasty verbiage; and the Tales are well worth a read. Cheyne is used in the following quote from Chaucer, and context provides ample clues to its meaning.

For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
(The Canterbury Tales
The Knight’s Tale, 2987–2993)

Vintage literature is not the only reason to be well versed in archaic words and phrases. To read history with some degree of understanding requires a knowledge of the language used during the period in question. 'Unique,' for example, no longer means unique. And, of course, the classic aphorism of Spanish philosopher George Santayana still applies:Those who do not read history are condemned to repeat it.

Use over time for the word 'plethora.'

Languages, like all concepts, have a flow to their pattern of development, their use, their misuse, their demise. The above might be described as a flow chart. This is but one of many ways to use the concept of flow to describe words and language. 'Plethora' seems to have made a comeback of late.

Flow theory, created by a somewhat obscure Hungarian professor of psychology, states rather baldly that humans are most content when they are in a state of flow; and flow is described as a state of mind which entails complete absorption in the task at hand. The state is further marked by intrinsic motivation and complete immersion. All else becomes lost to consciousness in these moments.

Language itself is fluent when the metered rhythm of the words matches both the measured syntax of sentences and the logical order of paragraphs. Once flow is established, various techniques can be used to emphasize content. Staccato delivery might be used to emphasize specific words (the hard boiled detective grilling a suspect; the emotional orator pushing an argument). Words with multiple syllables are often relied on to suggest the writer's or speaker's erudition. And space --- the long pause (look back at comedian Jack Benny) or blank in the middle or between paragraphs (common poetical device) --- is often used to change the flow of language.

When one has thoroughly learned a language, one is said to be fluent. Without an understanding of how languages evolve from origin to ending, fluency will be difficult. Non-native speakers prove the point. Even basic literacy will be compromised without some knowledge of both the old and the new and the rhythms of each. Who'd a thunk it. LOL.

Fluency has many definitions most of which pertain to reading and speaking well. The word simply means to flow.

Here is Santayana again:

... the whole machinery of our intelligence, our general ideas and laws, fixed and external objects, principle persons and gods, are so many symbolic, algebraic expressions. They stand for experience; experience which we are incapable of retaining and surveying in its multitudinous immediacy. We should flounder hopelessly, like the animals, did we not keep ourselves afloat and direct our course by these intellectual devices. Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of fact.
The Sense Of Beauty (1896), Pt. III, Form; § 30: p. 125

And click on the name to learn more about Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

hidden behind the leaves