Thursday 24 January 2013

I wander...wordwise.

Winter bites. Not just around me in the snow and ice but here inside. My thoughts freeze; my heart aches with the fingertouch of frost.  And I cannot write.  Words desert me, they fly away like a skein of geese, high in the cloud-bound sky. Isigfethera. Icy-feathered. I sit and stare at the screen, my eyes glazing.  Bitter in breosthord. Sad in soul. So I get up, swathe myself in blankets and gaze instead at the snowbound pages of my notebook.   No joy.  It’s a no win/wynn situation.  Did you know that wynn means joy or bliss in Old English?

"Ƿenne bruceþ, ðe can ƿeana lyt
sares and sorge and him sylfa hæf
blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.

Who uses it knows no pain
sorrow nor anxiety, and he himself has
prosperity and bliss, and also enough shelter."

This time of year, this sense of mood, often sends me back to Anglo-Saxon poetry – to The Seafarer and The Wanderer in particular.  The Seafarer most of all.  Because Old English expresses cold (of bone, of body, of soul) so much better than modern English. Its words bite.
And, even if words don’t love me right now, I still love words.  There is a wonderful blog on Tumblr called otherworldly which unearths, explores and adores words.  And sometimes, when I can’t write, I go there and lose myself in language.  Because so often what we cannot express in our own language can be expressed quite perfectly in another.  And I love that it has a ‘random’ function, allowing you to use it as a quasi-oracle if you will.  And you know how I love oracles.

Check it out. Wander word-wise. And I wonder, is there a word somewhere in this wide world, for wondering if you’re on the verge of giving up - but hoping you're not?  J



LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

Wonderful thought provoking post! While walking in the snow in the woods I often have other worldly type thoughts for which there are no words. Or none known to me - you are right, Old English is amazing! ~ Minerva x

Anonymous said...


Frances said...

Jane, it has gotten so very, very cold here in New York this week. It takes many layers of clothing to approach comfort in venturing out, even for a short walk to the subway station at the corner.

However, I have learned a new word that warms my body and heart...Heattech. It's a fabric that the Japanese company Uniqlo is using for various underpinnings. It brings happiness to one's chilled bones, and frees the mind to wander away from insistent messages of chill.

Why did I not acquired some Heattech garments before now?

(Please also know how much I am enjoying reading your wintry posts, dear Jane.)


Just me and the dog said...

You keep expressing in such a wonderful way my own feelings about winter - the dark, the cold. I dont know which does more to shrivel my soul. Hang in there!

Anne Wareham said...

Giving up? Giving up what???

You can't be so engaged, so in thrall to the world, words, ideas and be giving up. Even if giving up was as easy and passive as it sounds...(it has a sort of fade away quality, but I know of no way to actually fade away..)

By the way - Uniglo heatech is too clingy for me the stuff rides up and I'm yanking it down all the time. (so I've given it, hm)

Silk is the way to go to keep warm if a fire won't do it..


Ashen said...

I love oracles too, to be found whenever looked for. Thanks for the delightful other-world link.