Tag Archive: monster



Canadian winter haiku – the wendigo’s fangs = les crocs du wendigo

the wendigo’s fangs
tearing into flesh  – 
flash-frozen heart

wendigo haiku

les crocs du wendigo
déchirant la chair –
coeur congelé

Richard Vallance


Kigo or season words in Japanese and Canadian haiku:

Traditional Japanese and Canadian haiku share at least a few kigo or season words. But there are many Canadian kigo which are not found in Japanese haiku at all, and one of these is the Canadian winter kigo, wendigo. But what is the wendigo? The Wendigo is said to be a Algonquian native legend. There are many different stories associated with this mystic being. Is it a spirit? or was it once a human being who was transformed into this being as a result of eating human flesh? The Algonquian native legend states, "It is usually described as a giant with a heart of ice; sometimes it is thought to be entirely made of ice. Its body is skeletal and deformed, with missing lips and toes." And yet another version of this story is retold by the Ojibwa First Nation and it states, "It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory." 

In Japanese traditional haiku, The three main strategies (among others) are the use of season words (kigo), cutting words (kireji), and objective sensory imagery. In Japanese haiku, the 500 most common kigo or season words are found here:
http://www.2hweb.net/haikai/renku/500ESWd.html

Just a few of these are:

for spring:
spring night
cherry blossom(s)
tranquil
hazy moon
last frost
spring tide
plow
pinwheel
frog
butterfly

for summer:
hot
summer moon
fragrant breeze
thunder
rainbow
drought
rice planting
silk worm
kingfisher
eel
mosquito

for autumn:
autumn dusk
chilly
fleeting autumn
scarecrow
reed cutting
quail
sandpiper
salmon
apple
grapes

for winter:
short days
clear and cold
freezing
winter moon
frost
snow
ice
icicles
grebe
bed bugs

But while Canadian share at least a few of these kigo or season words, it is more than apparent that most Canadian kigo are not the same as the Japanese ones. For instance, we have:

for spring:
umbrella(s)
pouring rain (especially!)
purple loosestrife
polar bear cubs
geese
tundra
midnight sun


for summer:
midnight sun
maple trees
dappled maples
shooting stars
bald eagle
canyon
stray cat
fireflies
wilderness
gray crane
Wild Rice Moon


for autumn:
MacIntosh, Spartan, Courtland, Royal Gala etc. apples
picking apples
falling leaves
leaves, especially maple leaves
rustling leaves
cabins
mist(y)

for winter:
snow storm (even though this exists in Japanese haiku, it is far more common in Canadian ones)
snow flurries
spruce trees
fir trees
ice storm
icy lake
Blood Wolf Moon
polar bears
wolves
wolverines
Arctic fox
Snowy Owl
(Canadian) lynx
snow hares
chickadees
Northern Lights = Aurora Borealis
wendigo


Linear B seal BE Zg 1 as erroneously interpreted by Gretchen Leonhardt, corrected here:

Linear B seal BE Zg 1

Gretchen Leonhardt, a self-styled Linear B expert, has erroneously deciphered Linear B seal BE Zg 1.  As she so often does, she misinterprets syllabograms, all to often blatantly violating their phonetic values. It is clear from this seal that the last syllabogram must be either ru or ne, and  certainly not me, by any stretch of the imagination. Leonhardt is also in the habit of recasting the orthography of Linear B words she interprets to suit her own purposes. In this instance, she translates what she mistakenly takes to be the word on the VERSO to be dokame as dokema in Latinized Greek, flipping the vowels. But the second syllabogram is clearly ka, and cannot be interpreted as anything else.  The problem with Ms. Leonhardt’s so-called methodology in her decipherment of any and all Linear B tablets is that she runs off on wild tangents whenever she is confronted with any word that does not meet her preconceptions. In this instance, she is desperate to cook up a meaning which appeals to her, no matter how much she has to twist the Linear B orthography. She indulges in this very practice on practically every last Linear B tablet she “deciphers”, interpreting Linear B words to suit her fancy, except in those instances where she is faced with no alternative but to accept what is staring her in the face.

For instance, allow me to cite some of her translations of certain words on Linear B tablet Pylos TA 641-1952.  She has no choice but to accept tiripode as signifying “tripod”, eme as  “together/with” and qetorowe as “four year”, even though it properly means “four”, in line with the Latin orthography, quattuor. Linear B regularly substitutes q for t. As for her so-called decipherment of apu, she should know better than to translate it as  “to become bleached/white”. After all, how could a burnt tripod be bleached white, when scorching turns pottery black? It is astonishing that she would overlook the obvious here. What is even more damning is the indisputable fact that apu is the default aprivative preposition for “from/with” in Mycenaean, Arcadian, Arcado-Cypriot, Lesbian and Thessalian, as attested by George Papanastassiou in The preverb apo in Ancient Greek:

preposition apo in ancient Greek dialects

Then we have mewijo, which she interprets as “a kind of cumin”. Why on earth the Mycenaeans would have bothered with naming a specific kind of cumin when the standard word suffices, is completely beyond me. In fact, the alternative word she has latched onto is extremely uncommon in any ancient Greek dialect. Finally, she bizarrely interprets dipa, which is clearly the Mycenaean equivalent to the Homeric depa, as “to inspect”, another wild stretch of the imagination. Sadly, Ms. Leonhardt is much too prone to these shenanigans, which mar all too many of her decipherments. She ought to know better.

This of course applies to her decipherment of Linear B seal BE Zg 1. Finally, we can also interpret the figure on this seal as representing the Horns of Consecration ubiquitous at Knossos. 

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