april

Laundry day

Spring blossoms scent the air;
the kitchen smells
of Marseilles soap and ironing.

cherry blossom


April is not only the cruelest month, it’s also National Poetry Month. (Though I suppose that may depend on what nationality you are.)

I’m not going to be signing up for NaPoWriMo and don’t even promise 30 blog posts, let alone 30 poems this month.

Still, I do at least recognise that it’s April and there should be some poetry going on, even if I’m likely to head off on linguistic tangents as usual. Today’s tangent is to wonder why I should have only learned about Marseille soap after moving to Spain, and, in particular, after moving to Castile.

After reading in wikipedia, a new tangent appears: it seems that sapo castilliensis is the Latin name apothecaries gave to Castile soap; but why are the Latin word for “soap” and the Spanish word for “toad” the same?

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6 Responses to april

  1. peadarruadh says:

    Heh. “Why should I let the soap work squat on my life?”

    Ancient Greek has the word σάπων (“sapon”, in which the “a” is short, the “o” long and open, and the first syllable pronounced at a higher musical pitch than the second), which means something like “rotting” or “putrescent”, according to Liddell & Scott. Perhaps it really means “in need of soaping”.

    If you hadn’t given your poem a title, it might obey most of the rules for haiku – i.e. the ones I vaguely understand. The ambiguity of “smells” at the line-end (plural noun or singular verb) is probably not part of the authentic haiku style, but I like it.

    • The fact that I label a post ‘haiku’ doesn’t mean I think I’ve written one. Even without the title, I really don’t think this is a haiku, it’s a fragment of poetry. (And if I labelled all the similar posts as ‘fragments’ it’d be depressing to see just how broken my writing is.)

      “Sapon” complicates matters further by reminding me of “jabón” and “jamón”. While Spanish students of English are renowned for asking for “soap” when they mean “soup”, as a learner of Spanish, I had difficulty distinguishing “soap” from “ham”. I should have stuck to Castile soap made with olive oil not pig fat, I suppose.

  2. [...] other day I tagged yet another post as ‘haiku’. Later, in the comments, I admitted that the description was probably [...]

  3. elmediat says:

    Toad fat for soap,
    A witch’s brew in the kitchen -
    Flying Pan to Spain.

    Enjoyed this post. Thanks for the interesting connections of ideas. :)

    • Your ‘flying pan’ reminds me I must get a photo of the local street cleaner one day, as he uses a proper witch’s besom with the twigs bound together with an old tin can.

      (…and the ideas keep on connecting – or maybe I just jump from tangent to tangent and will eventually end up full circle.)

      Thanks for dropping by!

  4. [...] the following related blog posts by Don’t confuse the narrator  about the Nature of Haiku:  april-Laundry day  and fragmented thoughts on haiku . Also check my page on Haiku & poetry for other haiku [...]

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