These True Things

These True Things

Of these true things God made the North:
Of rock and water, trees and sky;
All else comes falsely, even earth,
And like the earth we thinly lie
Upon its face, constrained by birth
To cling in wonder til we die.

  1. John Jantune said:


    I started off thinking this was the gardener in you revolting against the city soil, fit for growing only traffic and potholes. Now I see, in wonder, atleast the possibility of hope. Two words do cause me pause though. True, though nicely juxtaposed in line three reads a mite awkward (of these things true?) and I struggle to think of a better word for condemned but am at a loss. Perhaps something relating to cultivation. Still, a nice thought to send us off to bed with, and all the better for getting us there before eleven. Much appreciated.

  2. John,

    I know that the spondee “true things” disrupts the iambic rhythm and does so very near the beginning, which can sound a bit awkward, but I want the emphasis to be on that metrical foot, so I will probably leave it.

    I agree with you that condemned is not quite the right word, however, and any suggestions would be welcome.

  3. ‘Upon its, castigate, by birth’

    impugn [thinking this might be the best one]
    Unbraid, scorched
    ooo, Anathema
    Fingered or named.

    I’ll stop now, hope this is not intrusive.

  4. Curtis,

    I need the word to be a verb, so anathema will not work. Also I need it to be only two syllables in the past tense, so castigated, admonished, denigrated, and named are all out. Also, I need it to be an action that can reasonably be attributed to birth, so cavilled, clobbered, unbraided, scorched, feruled, and fingered are probably not appropriate. Birth might conceivably be said to impugn, I think, but it would not match very well with the sense of the line.

    Thanks though.

  5. I just began reading the introduction to The Adolescent, and therein, it describes his origin, as a bastard, as ‘declasse, by birth’, now I know it’s not English, and it’s technically three syllables, but I think it covers the point you’re making, that of the destruction and immediate, lack of inheritance, full shame you seem to be hinting at, which is also found, though right now, only through description to my knowledge, in the introduction. The word I think says what you want, it fits at a stretch stylistically with the pentameter, but only because of rhyme. What you think?

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