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Poem: "Old and Older Ways" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Old and Older Ways"

This poem came from a prompt by siege and was written in September.  It's posted here in thanks for marina_bonomi, who collated the unsold poems for me so I could list them in the 2011 Holiday Poetry Sale.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman.  You can read more about that series on the Serial Poetry page.


Old and Older Ways
-- a sonnet


The shrines are old, though not so old as stone.
Each genius loci  has a holy place.
Who worshipped here of yore is now unknown,
Yet villagers still come to beg their grace.

The church is old, though not so old as shrines.
Its crucifix is carved of dark red wood.
Its fieldstone walls are covered up with vines.
The folk pray here as well, and call it good.

The village too is old, like shrines and church.
It cradles people close from birth to grave.
Whatever soul may come will find its search
Fulfilled, be it in grove or vale or nave.

Still faith remains, down history's long days,
As people follow old and older ways.

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Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ideealisme From: ideealisme Date: December 18th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
This poem comforts me. Thank you.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I'm glad you like it.
dichroic From: dichroic Date: December 18th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having just come through Bayeux and Mont-St-Michel, this one feels accurate to me. (But would it be genus locus instead of loci, if it's tied to a particular place?)
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: December 18th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
>(But would it be genus locus instead of loci, if it's tied to a particular place?)<

No it wouldn't: the expression is 'genius loci' (you have a typo here, Elizabeth), meaning 'the (protector) spirit of the place', 'loci' is the genitive case of the noun 'locus' (place).
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

I'm having trouble pinning this down. "Genus loci" without the "i" gets around 5 million hits while "Genius loci" with the "i" gets around 294,000. I don't entirely trust the English-speaking world to get that right but it looks like both versions are in use. The one Latin dictionary I have does list "genius" for "guardian spirit" -- although it doesn't list "genius loci" as a phrase -- so I'll go ahead and make the change. I would be happier if I could find the complete phrase in a reliable Latin dictionary.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: December 18th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

'Genus' is a legitimate Latin word that moved into English as a technical term in biology as a 'branch' of a family. For instance: family Canidae, genus: canis.

I can easily see people not familiar with Latin using genus for genius, I can just refer you to the Wikipedia article (accurate to the best of my knowledge)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genius_loci and vouch for the sentence out of my experience with Latin (5 years in a humanity-oriented high school and personal readings afterwards)

BTW if i type in Google 'genus loci' it keeps telling me I was really looking for 'genius loci'.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: December 18th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

...and here's the Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genius%20loci
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

That will do nicely, thank you!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 18th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

O_O

Does changing from "genus" to "genius" make the word three syllables or is it still two syllables? Because this is a sonnet and that matters.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: December 18th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: O_O

For me it's still two, but I'm not an authority by any means.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: December 19th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like this, in a warm-feeling way.

I'm also very much a fan of form poetry, esp. sonnets.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 19th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.

I love form poetry too. Most fishbowls I write at least one or two form poems. Sometimes I get busy with a particular form and there will be a whole bunch.
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