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Tony Grist

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Crocus [Feb. 12th, 2005|09:12 am]
Tony Grist
The crocus are out.

(What's the plural of crocus- Crocuses or crocii? Both are ugly, so I'm sticking with the generic singular.)

As I rode into town yesterday they were coming up in clumps by the roadside. It's not Spring yet- of course it isn't- but the crocus are the first sign.

Harbingers.

Ezra Pound talks about their "gilded phalloi". This has stuck with me because (a) it's bold and (b) it's wrong. The crocus is fleshy, but not in the least bit metallic. And the colour isn't gold but a sort of deep egg-yolk yellow.

I stole the sexual metaphor and wrote a poem once in which an early crocus "Peeks like a clitoris from the rough." I've never been sure whether this was brave or ridiculous.

I'm struck by their fragility. A little wind, a little rain and they're done for. They push sleekly up through the hard soil, then just fall to pieces.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: strange_complex
2005-02-12 02:12 am (UTC)
What's the plural of crocus?

Crocuses, I feel: after all, 'doctor' is a pure Latin loan word too, but we say 'doctors' for the plural, not 'doctores'. I don't find 'crocuses' to be an ugly word myself, anyway.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 07:11 am (UTC)
I shy away from too many "s"s in close promity. I don't like that hissing noise.

It's a personal quirk.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-12 09:11 am (UTC)
But final s in crocuses is voiced--it's a z sound.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 09:19 am (UTC)
It's a Gollum word- like hobbitses.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-12 09:26 am (UTC)
Okay.

Narcissuses is ugly, but crocuses doesn't bother me.

A clump of crocus--there's a plural for you.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 09:38 am (UTC)
Narcissuses is foul. I would have to insist on narcissi.


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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-12 09:43 am (UTC)
It's what I say; I apologize for even putting the other in your journal!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 09:48 am (UTC)
One of the beauties of English is that the vocabulary is so large that there's always an alternative.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-02-12 10:00 am (UTC)
I'd generalize this to 'language'.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 12:34 pm (UTC)
Perhaps.

English is the only language I know well enough.
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From: archyena
2005-02-12 02:33 am (UTC)
Perhaps it is both. Sometimes it's ridiculous to be brave and the opposite way round.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 07:12 am (UTC)
I think you're right.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-02-12 06:34 am (UTC)
The crocus are out.

(What's the plural of crocus- Crocuses or crocii? Both are ugly, so I'm sticking with the generic singular.)



Crocusi....(smile)

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 07:08 am (UTC)
Why not?
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2005-02-12 10:06 am (UTC)
"Peeks like a clitoris from the rough."

Why can I not get Annika Sorenstam out of my head now?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-02-12 12:37 pm (UTC)
Ha!

I thought this must be some poet I'd unwittingly plagiarised. I laughed out loud when I discovered what she actually does for a living!
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