Wednesday, August 06, 2008


word of the day: nouriture

context: “The Ballad of a Lost House”, a poem by Leonora Speyer, appearing in Prize Poems, 1913-1929, an anthology edited by Charles A. Warner.

The poet is addressing her “Hungry Heart”, telling it to get out of the house –

“… weep not, get you gone –
Better the stones to rest upon,

The wind and rain for a roof secure,
Hyssop and tares for your nouriture!”

definition: nurture – as Spenser spelled it.

Hyssop and tares are wild plants.

Among other things in this poem the poet’s veins turn to ice, she listens to an “ancient ardent melody”, wonders “when a smile will strike”, addresses the morning as “O anguished morn”, is “loved with a hundred hates”, observes “a wraith content that contented goes”, and diagnoses “a house that has lost its soul.” Heady stuff.

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