Notes XII  




Zemblan fishers camping on the ice

Something I remember from an old National Geographic, photographed in an icy rain by Bates Littlehales. (It may have been Alaska.)


Part I   Notes I
Part II
Notes II
Part III
Notes III
Part IV
   Notes IV
Part V
   Notes V
Part VI
   Notes VI
Part VII
   Notes VII
   Notes VIII
Part IX
   Notes IX
Part X
   Notes X
Part XI
   Notes XI
Part XII
   Notes XII

©, Acknowledgments
The Author




I see the road from here...speeding to, America?

See Gogol's famous apostrophe to Russia from the closing paragraphs of Dead Souls, Part I. Nabokov's comment on this rousing finish (in his book-length study, Nikolai Gogol): "Beautiful as all this final crescendo sounds, it is from the stylistic point of view merely a conjurer's patter enabling an object to disappear, the particular object being--Chichikov."

Gogol once planned to emigrate to the U.S.A., which he described as "the fantastic country of happiness and rational productive labor."


       948-949   A long... struggle

Phrases lifted (Thanks to Roland Forrester) from History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), short course, edited by a commission of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U. (B.), authorized by the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.(B.), 1938; Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1945.



Francis Crick, co-discoverer, with James Watson, of the double helix of the DNA molecule--our code of codes. DNA is found in the cells of all earthly organisms. A complete human DNA molecule may contain 10 billion atoms, all (literally) vital information.





Like; related; and therefore "bearing good will to" (OED). An interesting word. A Middle-English noble would be described as "comen of kind," of "good" family, of noble stock; kind and king are akin, since a king was "the head of a 'kin,' or tribe" (Ernest Weekley, An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English).

Kind derives from the Old English Cynn, our Kin, meaning kind, sort, family, race, people, and also becoming, proper, suitable; and cynd, origin, species, nature. Cynewise is commonwealth; cynebeald is royally bold; cyndnes is nation, produce, increase; cyning is king, ruler; cyndlim is womb; cynlic is fitting, proper, sufficient; cynnig is noble, of good family; cyndren is kindred, family, posterity, kind, species. Kith (cydd) is kinship, friendship, acquaintance, familiarity, knowledge of, and so on (J.R. Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 1960).

The word kind seems to expand outward from family(with a side trip, by way of an "important family," to the nobility) to enlarging metaphors of likeness: country, race, species. Kindness, then, implies relationship--family--of some acknowledged type. The Oxford English Dictionary seems to confirm this movement from "of a family" to "ready to assist, or show consideration for, others." Its many senses of kind- and cynn-related words include:

Family, race, blood-relations. A group of persons descended from a common ancestor, and so connected by blood-relationship; a family, stock, clan; in Old English, also people, nation, tribe. The group of persons formed by each stage of descent in a family or clan; a generation. The group of persons who are related to one; one's kindred, kinsfolk, or relatives, collectively. The quality, condition, or fact of being related by birth or descent; kinship, relationship, consanguinity. A large natural group or division of animals or plants, having presumably a common ancestry; the race (of men, fishes, etc.). A class (of persons, animals, or things) having common attributes; a species, sort, kind. Of kin = akin: Related by blood-ties. Also, Related in character or qualities. Near of kin, closely related.Next of kin, most closely related; chiefly the person (or persons) standing in the nearest degree of blood-relationship to another, and entitled to share in his personal estate in case of intestacy.

A wergeld or man-boot paid by a homicide to the kin of the person slain. (Not the same as the Old English cynebot or royal compensation.)

Birth, origin, descent. The station, place, or property belonging to one by birth; one's native place or position; that to which one has a natural right; birthright, heritage. That which naturally belongs to or befits one. The character or quality derived from birth or native constitution; natural disposition, nature. Natural state, form, or condition. A natural quality, property or characteristic. The manner or way natural or proper to any one; hence, mode of action; manner, way, fashion. A class, group, or division of things. A race, or natural group of animals or plants having a common origin. A class of individuals or objects distinguished by attributes possessed in common; a genus or species; also, in vaguer sense: A sort, variety, or description. (Latin genus.) In kind, In the very kind of article or commodity in question; usually of payment: In goods or natural produce, as opposed to money.

A bell sounded somewhere: from another direction now. Quite nearby, cold resonant iron swung gently, gently, to rest atop a tower in the dark. Snow on the lawn shone briefly as a light in the next house was switched on; off. An apple on a table across the room reflected some of the window's doings on its dull peel, its squarish bruise. The window reflected it.

Of repayment: In something of the same kind as that received. Natural, native. Implanted by nature; innate; inherent. Naturally pertaining to, or associated with, a person or thing; proper, appropriate, fitting. Belonging to one by right of birth, descent, or inheritance; lawful, rightful. Related by kinship. Of good birth, kind, nature or disposition. Well-born, well-bred, of generous or gentle birth, gentle. Of a good kind; hence, good of its kind, having the natural (good) qualities well developed. Of persons: Naturally well-disposed; having a gentle, sympathetic, or benevolent nature; ready to assist, or show consideration for, others; generous, liberal, courteous. Also of disposition. Well or favorably disposed to; bearing good will to. Exhibiting a friendly or benevolent disposition by one's conduct to a person or animal. Of action, language, etc.: Arising from or displaying a kind disposition. Of persons, their actions, etc.: Affectionate, loving, fond; on intimate terms (also euphemistically). Acceptable, agreeable, pleasant, winsome; kindly. Grateful, thankful.

I lay awake in a borrowed bed. The curtain blew in slightly; windows leak. The room seemed to breathe. A car turned into my hearing, turned around in some distant driveway, paused, slid out again: no lights. Persistent click of the drip on the rim of the drain.

Having naturally a kind disposition.


Without natural power, affection, feeling, etc.: unnatural. Devoid of kindness.

Without affection.

In a kindly manner; with good nature and sympathy.

The quality or habit of being kindly. An instance of this, a kindly deed.
Mildness or amenity (of climate or season) favorable to vegetation.

I lay looking up, having once again almost drifted off--approached the edge of sleep but gone no further: a lean-to propped against the ice-smooth wall of a palace. Nothing more. My pillow seemed stuffed with books. Insomnia is a confrontation between a finite being and infinite time. (Is that right? Then does sleep order infinity?) After further cruel comparisons and a brief drink from that perpetual faucet, I almost slept. A drip on the rim of the dream.

Natural, in various senses. That is, exists or takes place according to natural laws; consonant or congruent with nature; natural, as opposed to artificial. Implanted by nature; innate; inherent in the nature of a person or thing. Naturally belonging to or connected with a person or thing; own, proper, suitable. That belongs to one by birth; native; hereditary. Existing between kinsfolk. Having a right to one's position in virtue of birth or descent; rightful, lawful. Of children: Lawfully born, legitimate. Of a tenant: Holding a lease of land which his ancestors have similarly held before him: such a tenant usually held his land on favorable terms, and the name was also extended to others admitted as tenants on similar conditions. Native-born. Characterized by good nature. Of good nature or natural qualities; excellent of its kind; of a good sort; in good condition, thriving; goodly. Of persons: Having a friendly benevolent disposition; kind-hearted, good-natured. Hence also of character, feelings, actions, etc.

The bell rang; rang; rang. Was it four?...had I dreamed one stroke, or slept through two? I lay awake. Light somewhere: a mirrored blur, it dimmed. I turned, for a cooler pillow on my face. The sun would come up soon; I would never sleep. I slept.

Of things, especially of the weather, climate, or soil: Genial, benign: favorable to growth or for a particular crop. Acceptable, agreeable, pleasant, genial. In accordance with nature; naturally; by natural disposition; characteristically. In the way suitable or appropriate to the nature of the thing; properly, fittingly. In later use, especially said of processes which successfully follow their natural course. In an easy, natural way; readily; congenially; spontaneously. Properly; thoroughly, exactly. With natural affection, affectionately, lovingly; with sympathy, benevolence, or good nature. Benignly, genially. In a way that is pleasant or agreeable to the recipient or object; agreeably, pleasantly. Kinship; near relationship; natural affection arising from this. Natural right or title derived from birth or descent; the status of a kindly tenant. Natural inclination, tendency, disposition, or aptitude. Good natural quality or aptitude. The quality or habit of being kind; kind nature or disposition, or the exhibition of this in action or conduct. An instance of this; a kind act; a benefaction. A benefit, an advantage. Kind feeling; a feeling of tenderness or fondness; affection, love. Also good will, favor, friendship.

The being of kin; relationship by blood or descent. Affinity in respect of qualities; resemblance, agreement. A group or body of persons related to each other by blood; a family, clan, tribe. The human kindred, the human race. Of the same kin; related by birth or descent; cognate.

Omissions mine. Spark and crackle of suddenly illuminated snow, sweep of sugar-blown shadows, a black night, windless cold, whole pines toppled with the play of a flashlight beam, the spear-flung, glass-barked wood lumbering alongside--a sheer drop.

What a terrible dream.

Density and clarity. Failed synthesis. The unskated pond of the full moon caught in a tilting mirror, wreathed in leaves.

Are we "related"? Should we "exhibit a friendly or benevolent disposition to a person? an animal?" and be "ready to assist, or show consideration for, others, bearing good will" to them?

It's you I miss tonight. Without you, only myself; not enough.




Peal free

Were the poet's last word translated into German, "Peal frei" would be an anagram of Pale Fire--coincidentally an antonym of Dark Ice, and a phrase in William Ivanovich Shakespeare's Timon of Athens:


The moon's pearl--fie. A fractured cognate. A flagrant yellow bird on an old sill, bright in the sun of some other country, rifles his feathers looking for a mite. The palace walls are high, but can be climbed: sheer only from afar.

It was still dark. The bell began. It finished, then gave the time quietly away to the weighted night.

Out there, somewhere, lit history: a window or two. A few books on a few dim sills. Iron plates askew on the partly dismantled street. The snow has melted. Free.

And since I have the luxury of going home, I will. Line 1,001 (the number of a final fairytale), points off the edge of the page and into the air:




     Notes XI       Dedication