Thursday, 22 December 2016

Archery, Wicca, Kipling And Tyre

Does a sentence get its meaning from the words or do the words get their meanings from their positions in a sentence? It has been argued that it is the latter. Certainly the difference between the bark of a tree and the bark of a dog is their relative positions in this sentence. Despite the paradoxical nature of sentences, each of us every day utters phrases and sentences that have never been heard before yet are instantly understood. I doubt if anyone has listed "Archery, Wicca, Kipling And Tyre" before.

In Dies The Fire (New York, 2005), SM Stirling acknowledges a work on archery. Works for me: archery will revive when gunpowder stops working and I am watching Arrow dvds. Stirling also acknowledges help with Wicca. Works for me: I know several Wiccans and one of my few neighbors who is neither a Muslim nor a University student has an altar with images of the horned god and the goddess.

Stirling quotes Kipling:

"Far-called our navies melt away
"On dune and headland sinks the fire;
"Lo, all our pomp of yersterday
"Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!"

This resonates. Stirling quoting Kipling referencing Tyre evokes the Bible, a poem by James Elroy Flecker and a Time Patrol story by Poul Anderson.

A title can be a quotation or a deliberate misquotation. It seems that Dies The Fire is the latter. Other examples:

Goethe's Faust wrote, "In the beginning was the deed!";
TS Eliot, in The Wasteland, wrote, "I will show you fear in a handful of dust," whereas Neil Gaiman's The Sandman was advertised with the phrase, "I will show you terror in a handful of dust...";
a poem based on Gaiman's Endless characters ends with the line:

"Rage, rage against the dying of delight."

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