Saturday, February 21, 2009


Comber: A long ocean wave.
I clambered fore and aft my hulk until a comber split her, keel from ribs, and the big timber floated free.


Cuirass: An armored breastplate.
So I tied on my cuirass and took up two heavy spears.

Thole, Thole pin

Thole, Thole pin: Two pins mounted on the gunwales of a boat to hold the oars - wooden predecessors to oar locks.
oars a-trail from thongs looped over the thole pins
Loops oars well to your thole pins


Mentor: An adviser, teacher, guide - usually an older experienced person guiding a younger novice. This is derived from the name of person Odysseus left to counsel his son (Telemakhos) when Odysseus went off to the Trojan War.
Then to Telemakhos the gray-eyed goddess (Athena) appeared again with Mentor's form and voice.
Mentor I noted going aboard - or a god who looked like Mentor. The strange thing is, I saw Lord Mentor here in the first light yesterday - although he sailed five days ago for Pylos.


Hekatomb: A sacrifice to the gods. Heka, hecta, and hecto are all prefixes for 100 as in hectometer (100 meters) and hectare (100 ares or a square hectometer). This sacrifice was original 100 animals.
He wanted to hold the troops, make sacrifice, a hekatomb, something to pacify Athena's rage.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Consigliere: A top adviser or assistant, initially in the context of the Mafia.
"I think if we had a wartime consigliere, we wouldn't be in this mess."


Lachrymose: Very sad, mournful, tearful.
She's avoiding her face in the mirror and all the lachrymose self-pity etched there.


Koan: A paradoxical story - such as those used to aid meditation in Zen Buddhism.
It was one of those impossible, harebrained paradoxes that only a round table of corporate marketers smelling of competing aftershaves could have dreamed up - in a different land, in a different era, those tools would have come up with the dynasty's favorite koans.


Gelid: Cold, very cold, frigid, arctic.
Genevieve had blond hair, cobalt eyes, and a tall, gelid grace.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Ramparts: A defensive barrier.
Earthworks: A rampart made of earth.
Battlements: Crenelated ramparts around the top of a castle.
Fraise: A earthen rampart with pointed stakes.
The ramparts wound their way through the trees, surrounding thatched houses on stilts and others made of beaten earth.


Satrap: An ancient Persian governor. A low-level bureaucrat.
The Persian satraps came to touch the tips of my golden shoes and kiss the hem of the queen's robes.


Phalanx: A formation of closely spaced soldiers or police - any crowd in close formation. Alexander the Great made extensive tactical use of phalanxes - infantry lines with overlapping shields. His father, Phillip of Macedonia, invented this tactic.
With archers marching ahead of the phalanxes and walls of lances hiding the cavalry, our square formations could transform themselves into curved lines at any moment.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oast House

Oast House: A large kiln, usually beehive shaped, used to dry hops, malt or tobacco.
We're sitting in silence as the hops fields and oast houses pass by.