Triologisms

Bringing you pithy, evocative imagery in three-legged microcosms of meaning.

I revel in having coined the term ‘triologism’ and believe this to be the only collection of these tum-tee-tum phrases in the universe.

Updated on Tuesdays … Tuesday, triologism day!  You’ll never see this day of the week in the same way again.

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Ankle-snapping boulders

Another vivid image of this lunar landscape, boulders both too big and too small to step on, instead being the perfect size to catch and break your ankles as you walk.  And always, in the Mani, the 'stagnant glare' of the sun. 'At last, panting, thorn-riddled, caked...

Wave-beaten cape

A rough and remote coastal path, leading to the cave of Charon in a legend recounted by Leigh Fermor.  It concerns a 'mysterious potentate' called Mavroeidis, the Black-Shaped One, who forced a 'five-times' beautiful princess to be his wife, incarcerating her in a...

Rough-hewn peninsulars

A rugged description of all-enduring peasants who survive in a brutal landscape. 'The three young fruiterers ... seemed queerly townish after the rough-hewn peninsulars.' Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, introduction by Michael...

Rock-strewn surface

Two ideas were imprinted on my mind in Leigh Fermor's description of the Mani landscape - unremitting heat and unforgiving rock. 'The Deep Mani road still hobbled on a for a few miles, the cratered and rock-strewn surface becoming more lunar in aspect with each...

Dungeon-like gloom

This gloom was no doubt accentuated by the blinding brilliance outside, and may even have been a soothing balm to the exhausted eye.  You think air is clear until you see such shafts of mote-whirling light. 'Our interruption had set the dust moving and a thin golden...

Brittle-looking lorry

I imagine a clapped-out lorry with rusted, flaking panels, paint-stripped by the endless sun.  And watermelons for thirsty Maniots reminds me of Thoreau's praise of watermelons as the perfectly rolling cask. 'We got a lift along it next morning in a brittle-looking...

Wild-looking grass

One of the landscape changes of recent years is the steady return of wild-looking grass where previously there were endless, weedless swards of emerald green lawn.  The more varied it is, the more I wonder how many insects and small creatures live there relatively...

Silver-plated water

I have seen beaten-bronze and copper-coloured water, but never silver-plated. 'The cool, placid, silver-plated water at even coolly awaits the frost.' 16 Oct 1859 Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New...

Craven-hearted neighbours

This refers to Thoreau's outrage at the callous reaction of his neighbours to the death of John Brown on the grounds that he 'threw his life away! - what way would they have thrown their lives, pray?' 'It galls me to listen to the remarks of craven-hearted neighbors...

Finger-cold evening

A great way to convey a chill in the air cold enough to affect the extremities.  Also like the idea of improving an evening by pulling up turnips. 'Another finger-cold evening, which I improve in pulling up turnips.'   21 Nov 1860 Source: Henry David Thoreau, The...

Glaucous-green field

I found myself wondering just what shade of green is glaucous, and learning that it is either 'a dull greyish-green or blue', or a 'pale greyish or bluish' and also refers to being covered in a powdery bloom as on grapes.  A fine alliterative colour combination, in...

Slate-colored snowbirds

Firstly, I like the idea of a 'snow' bird being the colour of slate.  And being obsessed with colours and the names we give them, I notice how many hues and shades can only be described in reference to something of that colour.  Elsewhere Thoreau describes slate as...

Pepper-pot turrets

The description of these towers and turrets in the village of Kardamyli, which are a match for the mine's-bigger-than-yours competition of medieval San Gimignano lords, is extraordinary.  Leigh Fermor was housed and cared for in one of them, with meals and fresh...

Rose-coloured rain

This refers to a dreamed of rain of rose-coloured petals, part of an extravagant historical fantasy Leigh Fermor indulges, imagining a rough fishermen being recognised as a lost Byzantine emperor. 'Each carpeted step seemed to carry us into a denser rose-coloured rain...

Seldom-failing blessings

A lasting impression from Leigh Fermor's Mani is inescapable heat, from which any respite is a gift.  I also like the notion of 'seldom-failing' allowing the possibility that blessings can come and go, giving you all the more reason to cherish them when they come. May...

Twice-baked bread

Paximadia is clearly a Greek name for a traditional Greek bread, but it has a pacific Latin echo in that 'pax'.   Break bread and make peace.  Paximadi is the singular.  For a full overview of the bread and its history and variants, see this article by Diana Farr...

Light-skinned Yemenite

This describes Leigh Fermor's first incursion into the Mani, after having been warned by the rest of Greece that going there would put his life in danger.  No such thing, he had a wonderful time and was charmingly cared for. 'Such is the force of suggestion that the...

Purple-carpeted street

This is an Arcadian dream of Leigh Ferro's, drawing copiously on his outrageously learned grasp of Byzantine aristocratic titles and protocols. While I clearly don't move in sufficiently imperial circles to have seen, let alone walked on, purple-carpeted streets, I...

Secret-seeming combe

'Secret-seeming' promises quiet landings of a boat shingling onto a beach, or morning departures. 'Combe' is curious in the context of Greece, as it sounds quintessentially English, even its sound capturing something of the cool of the climate.  So in the Mani, it...

Skull-like blankness

A blindingly white description of a sun-parched landscape. Elsewhere Leigh Fermor conjures another type of blankness, that of a face, by describing it as tundra-blank. Seeing 'blankness' repeated in this post, I conclude it is onomatopoeic, which is a good thing...

Troy-bound villagers

In this triologism, Leigh Fermor effortlessly conveys the millennia-spanning history of an obscure village, implying that its inhabitants might be descended from sailors who accompanied Menelaus to Troy.  However tenuous, this possible link to a possible reality...

Thorn-studded bats

No, this isn't a description of a gothic night-flight of vampiric birds, he is referring rather to the big, flat ping-pong bat leaves of the prickly pear, staking their claim on abandoned ruins, one of few plants able to thrive in such harshly dry and rocky terrain. ...

Fate-spinning crones

Elsewhere Leigh Fermor talks of 'black-coiffed crones'.  Here they are 'fate-spinning', giving a terrifying and timeless aspect to them, reinforced by their sitting beneath 'the snarl of the slogan'.  'Crone' is probably a dying word, being none too respectful of...

Sun-refracting facet

Mani is a stark and unforgiving landscape, conveyed with sharp-edged precision by Leigh Fermor. 'But there were no bridges or ships here, no bastioned town wall or procession of cypresses to detract from the bare upward thrust of all these perpendiculars of...

Mastiff-like tenacity

Such jaw-gripping tenacity is used to describe the force that the ending '-cious' adds to words, as in the word 'tenacious'.  Thoreau observes and analyses language as incisively as he observes and analyses nature. '... the greediness, as it were, and tenacity of...

Pattern-working chaplain

Thoreau isn't a big fan of chaplains and other purveyors of religion and here he takes a swipe at three visiting 'ultra-reformers', one of whom he describes as 'a sort of travelling pattern-working chaplain', which I take to mean someone trotting out a standard...

Sawyer-like strain

Having always associated 'sawyer' with Tom of the same name, it never occurred to me that, like many surnames, it is also a livelihood, in this case, that of sawing wood for a living.  Thoreau uses it to describe the sawing sound of the ovenbird, an American bird that...

Faint-croaking frogs

Thoreau is notably patient in observing nature, able to stand still for half an hour or more, to let the frogs and other creatures overcome their fear or shyness and be overcome instead by curiosity.  Here, he ends up being observed in return by half a dozen...

Well-disciplined eye

John Stilgoe describes Thoreau thus in his preface to the journals, highlighting Thoreau's well-disciplined eye and his awareness of the limitations of words in describing what such an eye could see. Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls...

Slate-color water

Our capacity to name colours in all their rich and detailed variegations is surprisingly limited, and so the recourse to the formula of 'something-like colour' is common and delivers some of the missing hues. Thoreau is a meticulous observer of nature and beauty, and...

Yataghan-wielding chieftains

At least when Leigh Fermor first travelled to Mani in the Peloponnese, its inhabitants had a fearsome reputation among Greeks, which may account for their yataghan-wielding chieftains.  A yataghan is a double edged curved sword devoid of a guard, originally from...

High-perched asylum

In his acknowledgements, Leigh Fermor thanks a number of people for 'kindness and haven during restless literary displacements', and it seems he spent considerable time writing at their homes, or homes in their possession, over the years.  One of those friends...

Cactus-haunted emptiness

One of the features that vibrates through Leigh Fermor's writing on the Mani is the blinding light and heat, compounded by heat-radiating rocks and drought-parched earth. 'But the sloping cobbled lanes were full of gregarious life as if the Maniots had herded there in...

Peak-wandering robbers

Another menace in the Mani region, though having heard so much of its lurking threats, Leigh Fermor and his wife were treated with all round splendid kindness and care. 'Peak-wandering robbers who lived off loot...' Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the...

Beam-borne planks

A poetic description of an ancient and abandoned bell tower; somehow 'beam-borne' implies flying rather than static, and I liked also the 'moth-soft' of the imagined bell rope tallies. 'It suggested a belfry so convincingly that one expected to see ropes disappearing...

Black-coiffed crone

An ancient if none too respectful image of elderly and slightly sinister women.  However, their manifest suffering from sea-sickness removes any hint of witchery in the use of the word 'crone'. 'Yet among the wheat sacks the dolorous face of many a black-coiffed crone...

Brown-bronze wood frog

Thoreau seems even more partial to frogs than to fungi, and observes them with tremendous patience and sympathy.  I liked this colour, 'brown-bronze'. 'I see a delicate pale brown-bronze wood frog.'  16 Oct 1857 Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861,...

Winter-defying hawk

What majesty in this triologism - a hawk thriving despite a New England winter. 'The warmest springs hardly allow me the glimpse of a frog's heel as he settles himself in the mud, and I think I am lucky if I see one winter-defying hawk or a hardy duck or two at a...

Rainbow-like belt

Surely, I could bestow such a belt on a character in a story?   And those 'brilliant-colored points or cones', garlanding a pond, or a garden. 'Walden, too, like an Indian maiden, wears this broad rainbow-like belt of brilliant-colored points or cones round her waist...

Bright-tinted shrubs

Autumn alights with bright-tinted shrubs.  And yes, you need to be on the alert to perceive their full beauty. 'A passer-by might, perhaps would, have noticed that the bright-tinted shrubs about the high shore on the sunny side were reflected in the water; but, unless...

Hard-featured god

What a curious image, especially the breath hanging about the god's forehead. May you be spared the hard-featured god, even in repose. 'A hard-featured god reposing, whose breath hangs about his forehead.'   29 Oct 1857 Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal...

Frog-like philosophy

While I have no idea what such a philosophy involves, it sounds like one I might manage to grasp, and I like its cool and composed nature.  Surely, it must have something zen about it?  And having already cooked up a philosopher dog for one of my stories, I now wonder...

Champagne-bottle shoulders

What a charming if old-fashioned sounding description of sloping beauty, in this case referring to voluptuous Europa.  And 'callipygous' describes finely shaped buttocks, the owner of which would qualify as a callipygian. 'Europa - lovely, Canova-like, with...

Dust-clogged hair

As Leigh Fermor prepares to set off through Mani in the Peloponnese, he is given several such 'there be dragons' warnings by friendly Greeks, implying that he risked having his throat slit if he ventured into such wild places. '"You had better look out if you are...

Half-convincing illusion

I liked this vista, with its mile-long sweeps and acute angles like collapsible rulers. However, if you are to have illusions, let them be fully convincing, no halves. 'Up the flank of this great barrier a road climbed, searing it in mile-long sweeps and acute angles...

Shqip-speaking Atticans

Intrigued by this curious linguistic geographic cocktail, I have learned that Shqip is Albanian and Sfax is a city in Tunisia.  So Leigh Fermor is presenting us with Albanian-speaking Greeks living in Tunisia. 'Shqip-speaking Atticans of Sfax' Source: Patrick Leigh...

Phallus-wielding Bounariots

One of a long and impossibly exotic ethno-linguistic, map-straddling shopping list that Leigh Fermor reels off like a roll-call of human diversity. Even without the learning to follow a fraction of its historical implications and allusions, there is something hypnotic...

Ouzo-swilling fisherman

Leigh Fermor at one point starts day-dreaming he has discovered the rightful Emperor of Byzantium in the form of an ouzo-swilling fisherman. He heads off into a dazzling flight of fancy, underpinned by his apparently boundless and effortless erudition. Source: Patrick...

Black-frogged livery

Of several unbelievable sojourns Leigh Fermor enjoyed in anciently aristocratic homes dotted across central Europe, this may top the lot.  He seems to have come from a sufficiently elevated stratum of English society to be able to pitch up here and there, after weeks...

Half-glimpsed chateau

I know little about architecture in the formal sense but am in love with buildings, forever looking at them and wondering what histories they harbour, and often giving them a mental makeover to bring out their full ambiance and potential.  So how enticing this idea of...

Good-tempered ears

Describing an idyllic ride on a wonderful horse.  I wish you many moments, and even days and weeks, of which the first sentence is true. 'There was not a single way in which life could be improved.  Malek's alert and good-tempered ears, his tireless and untiring gait...

Tawny-maned horses

A journey you would never want to end, the way Leigh Fermor describes it. 'Poppies scattered the green crops, the smell of hay, clover and lucerne floated in the air, and tawny-maned horses grazed.  I wished the journey would never end.'   Source: Patrick Leigh...

Chocolate-coloured ploughland

What deep, dark, friable soil this suggests! 'It was a geometrical interlock of chocolate-coloured ploughland with stripes of barley, wheat, oats, rye and maize with some tobacco and the sudden mustard flare of charlock.'   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between...

Flat-bottomed clouds

Leigh-Fermor's continent-straddling meander encompasses pre-war scenes of breath-taking bucolic beauty.  A decade after his peregrination this world had been turned on its head and much of it destroyed. Yet in reading of his experiences, you sense an easy timelessness...

Forest-haunting Lombards

This is part of a paean to the magic of the forest and the hold it has on our imaginations.  But beware the forest-haunting Lombards, who sound like something from the night side of the fairy tale.   'A kind of spell haunts wooded slopes like these: it drives the...

Red-legged falcons

Assuming this to be the red-footed falcon (falco vespertinus), I found this photo.  Leigh Fermor spots them around the remains of an impressive bridge built by Trajan.   'It was the remains of Trajan's amazing bridge that we had come to see, the greatest in the...

Bat-haunted cave

In general, I would run a mile from anything bat-haunted - apparently random, erratic flight patterns bring out some primeval panic in me.  But this isn't any old cave.  This is allegedly the cave I read about a thousand times in the beautifully illustrated Pied Piper...

Sulphur-coloured belfries

I like triologisms that combine something with -coloured - when I have enough of them to make a mosaic of colour, I will do so, and post it on this site.  Until then, enjoy this one. 'Clumps of trees broke it up and every few miles russet and sulphur-coloured belfries...

Green-leaf song

What could be sweeter to the ear than a 'green-leaf song'?   Leigh Fermor hears it parting company with an old woman shepherdess.  Did the song survive? 'Still exchanging jokes, they set off for their high sheepfolds.  One of them was spinning as she went, and in a...

Green-leaf invocations

Surely a practice worth borrowing or reviving?  Leigh Fermor describes a woman beginning each verse of her song with such an invocation, a kind of homage to the leaves and the trees. 'She sang a doina to herself as she moved about the yard, each verse beginning "Foaie...

Mythical-sounding princes

Leigh Fermor is entranced by the names of these princes, making him want to explore Romania.  We also decided we want to explore Romania, but it wasn't the mythical sounding prince that did it, it was a chance meeting with a charming young woman with whom we crossed...

Moth-ridden masterpieces

The Shadow of the Wind assembles a posse of 'bibliophile knights' who hang out in cafés to save the moribund from extinction.  See also the dim view Barceló takes of people who haven't mastered Latin on the shallow grounds that it is a dead language. '... where...

Lop-eared rabbits

What a fine word, 'lop'.  You can see these droopy-eared pretty creatures lolloping around the melon patch. 'Lop-eared rabbits basked or hopped sluggishly about the little gardens and nibbled the leaves of ripening melons.'   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between...

Tar-black skies

This struck me because it's a rare sight, skies are rarely tar-black in or near cities.  But this is Barcelona and perhaps the emptiness of the sea at night allows some of its overarching sky to seep into the city's airspace and blacken it like ink. 'It was a cold...

Technicolor-green fields

Fermín is a character who has done time as a tramp, and perhaps because of the hunger he's suffered, he has an insatiable appetite for chocolate.  Living in Switzerland, I can testify as to the reality of its 'impossibly blue lakes' and 'Technicolor green fields'. 'As...

Deer-nibbled grass

We've been wondering if there is a way to deploy a sheep, goat or deer to mow the lawn without destroying the plant beds - an eco-friendlier option including the reduction of noise pollution. Clearly, the only way would be to create a circular lawn with a central...

Iris-blue sky

When I think of such a sky, I think of Greece. 'The following morning, the weather had changed to a pale iris-blue sky.'   Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 212

Yellow-flowered silverweed

Looking up this flower (potentilla anserina), I discover the identity of a mystery plant I bought from a seedling community in Geneva.  It was in the 'edible' section but didn't come with a label.  Now it's about a foot in height and diameter, and we can put the...

Rubber-suited whale

Puffins are lovable partly for their curiosity and quirkiness. Here Nicolson imagines them trying to figure out what manner of fish he is. 'They are not frightened. They gather around you, swimming up to you, looking curiously sideways at this new kind of...

Tissue-thin vulnerability

Among other things, Sea Room is a study of human strategies for survival over millennia, of the fragility and tenacity of a culture built in a climate-pounded place of meagre resources.  These islands were inhabited from the Bronze Age until the population declined...

Barnacle-encrusted boulders

The clingon power of the barnacle is astonishing, as anyone who ever tried to prise them off the rocks in childhood acts of discovery will know.  My memory of summer holidays by the English sea, or day trips to the seaside, includes endless coasts of weed-slithered...

Weed-slithered rocks

This evokes a few childhood seaside holidays in England, hopping over seaweed-slippery rocks, to play and paddle in rock pools.  One such holiday was in a caravan near Hunstanton with our grandparents.  I don't remember seeing much of the sun, but I was happy to be on...

Crossing the long-haired sea

This poem by the seventh century Irish poet-monk Beccán mac Luigdech captures the ruggedness and exhilaration of crossing rampant seas in small boats to create new settlements or monasteries.  I love the 'long-haired sea' and its portrayal as 'wild country' followed...

Wind-besieged islands

The North Sea is full of such islands and Nicolson finds in a place of 'sun-trap warmth', sheltered from the wind-siege, a possible site for the church of the seventh century Irish poet-monk Beccan. 'So is this, in its sun-trap warmth on these wind-besieged islands,...

All-power meeting

I had no idea how awful but interesting this bird is, even its name lacks euphony.  I'm in no hurry to take one on in an 'all-power meeting' I'd be sure to lose. 'Nothing can really prepare you for the reality of the shag experience.  It is an all-power meeting with...

Sea-battered island

A perfect spot for a hermit, even more so in the seventh century. '... a hermit living on a sea-battered island in the Hebrides in the seventh century.'   Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p....

Dredger-bucket mouth

You can see this gaping maw hoovering up all in its path. 'Its dredger-bucket mouth agape for the food-rich water streaming through it...'   Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 278

Spring-time welcome

My heart also expands at the spring-time welcome of where I live and where I visit.  Here, the detail of Nicolson's account roots the welcome in the Shiants, and I particularly revel in the 'big, luscious chamomile' and the 'flowering cushions of newness'. May you...

Black-letter hortations

Leigh Fermor's descriptions of pre-war beer halls encompass the quaint, the sinister, the laughable and the grotesque, with first hints of Nazi cheerfulness invading medieval slovenliness, and with near biblical accounts of the sin of gluttony. '… pace-forcing...

Bruise-coloured clouds

A striking colour name, and particularly as I am now looking out onto ... '... bruise-coloured and quicksilver clouds...'   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books, 1977), p. 243

Demon-king entrance

This sounded like something out of a classical Chinese opera until I realized it was describing my forebears. Don't worry, a dozen centuries of settled living, and I've been entirely pacified and partially civilized. 'The Magyars, at the end of their journey from...

Shrivel-cheeked hermits

May you be spared all shrivelling. Why do words of similar sound have something mean-spirited in them: shrivelling, snivelling, grovelling, scrivening, slovenly? 'On the walls inside the Palace, meanwhile, Duccio's sombre Jeremiah and the shrivel-cheeked hermits and...

Strip-cartoon dreams

Yes, you can picture a cartoon tramp dreaming of a spit-roasted chicken.  And those six-on-a-spit rotating rotisseries of plump, golden roasted chickens?  The Brazilians call them "dogs' TV". 'A delicious roast chicken, of the classical sort that sizzles enclouded in...

Russet-scaled labyrinth

Thinking about roof tiles described like russet scales, I look up, out of the window and see them not three yards away, overlooking the 'russet-scaled labyrinth' of roofs in the old town of Geneva. 'A russet-scaled labyrinth of late medieval roofs embeds the baroque...

Rain-glazed grass

This makes me think of the freshness after a downpour, the drops glistening on the pointed leaves of the lawn. Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 287

Rock-hole glory

A memorable image of a glorious, dreadful creature hanging out in weather-gouged holes in rocks. 'Nothing can really prepare you for the reality of the shag experience.  It is an all-power meeting with an extraordinary, ancient, corrupt, imperial, angry, dirty,...

Sun-trap warmth

A haven of calm and enveloping warmth in places blasted by wind and cold.  A place where a monk arriving over rough seas from Ireland in the seventh century might choose to build a church. 'So is this, in its sun-trap warmth on these wind-besieged islands, where the...

Food-rich water

Here's to hoping the future will see the ocean still full of food-rich water. 'Its dredger-bucket mouth agape for the food-rich water streaming through it...'   Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p....

Battle-haunted fens

Having spent many teenage summer holidays in the fens of England, this struck me, though I never heard or saw the battle hauntings there.  Perhaps too engrossed in high kaleidoscopic skies. '... the battle-haunted fens came to an end on the other side of the river.'...

Tree reflecting banks

A river lined on both sides with tree-covered banks, reflected in the water and in each other.   As you follow Leigh Ferro's pre-war crossing of Europe, knowing what came after in destruction and mayhem, you keep asking how much of what he describes survived and how...

Weather-fretted Abbots

Assuming these are carved in stone, though my first reading had me picturing a human 'weather-fretted' abbot. Wishing you more blessings than admonishments. 'Meditating, admonishing and blessing, a team of sainted and weather-fretted Abbots postured with operatic...

Many-legended island

Are those legends still alive or did they die with the war, or with the people who told them?  And what if we made our own mental 'many-legended island' to retire to? 'I slept in the village of Grein that night, just upstream from a wooded and many-legended island.'...

Dun-coloured flax

I eat flaxseed and have seen blonde hair described as 'flaxen', but in reading this I realize I have never seen flax grow.  And what a refreshing image of a river plaiting a long green strand of clear water through the flax fields. 'The river Enns ... came winding out...

Hard-favoured rage

The rage of feeling hard done by, is how I read this.  I like 'disguise fair nature with...', meaning you have to overcome your happy nature to drum up some fake fury.   That final 'etc' gives it away as a feint. 'But when the blast of war blew in their ears, they...

Light-hearted colours

What a delightful way to describe a palette of colours: light-hearted.  What hues would it include?  Sky blue, dancing fuchsia, apple green? And something charming in those untutored and marveling eyes.  They may be untutored but at least they are marveling and that...

Cloud-born apotheoses

The triologism caught my eye, but I like even more the play of light bouncing from a Venetian canal up through a partly shuttered window to flicker across ceiling scenes. 'The reflected flicker that canals, during Venetian siestas, send up across the cloud-born...

Holly-patterned ribbon

This quotation, and its festive triologism, haunts me for the closing sentence which yields the book's loving title: The time of gifts.  I liked the simple gifts these girls gave Leigh Fermor, and his regret at not having anything suitable with which to reciprocate....

Good-humoured Syrinx

These two fine young girls manage to protect themselves from the depredations of a sleazy, tasteless monster.  I remember Leigh Fermor's descriptions of the booziest blur of a party held in a place bursting with the latest and ugliest 1930s nouveau-Nazi tat. '......

Traffic-straddling gateway

Having just spent Easter in Aosta where there is an Augustan traffic-straddling gateway in the central roundabout, this image brought a happy moment to mind. 'A monument where a Bavarian king was riding on a metal horse in front of another colossal and...

Basket-hilted sabres

Seems an odd juxtaposition, woven hilts for metal sabres, but I have a vague notion of having seen them in some museum or castle or other. 'Their gauntlets grasped basket-hilted sabres.^   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books,...

Saint-encrusted towers

How many masons chipped away for how many centuries to create 'saint-encrusted towers', which would have to withstand the vibrating rivalries of the bells above them. 'As each quarter struck, the saint-encrusted towers challenged each other through the snow and the...

Siegfried-haunted Drachenfels

An image from a Caspar David Friedrich painting. 'The country sped downstream at a great pace and the Siebengebirge and the Siegfried-haunted Drachenfels began to climb into the sparkling morning.'   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin...

Reed-fringed spinney

Many years since I heard the word 'spinney'.  I remember it as a secret, hidden spot in the local park when we were growing up, known simply as The Spinney.  It had a man-made waterfall, channelled through a wall built of cement sacks, stacked and allowed to settle in...

Tree-tufted islands

Trees as tufts - trying to imagine how they would look.  I imagine wind-blown short trees, dwarfed and compacted by a harsh climate. 'We sailed between tree-tufted islands.'   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books, 1977), p....

Lemon-coloured light

A warming, bright but not dazzling light, and streaming through gaps in snow-clouds too. 'The sky was loosening and lemon-coloured light was dropping through the gaps in the snow-clouds ... '   Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (London: Penguin Books,...

1 Comment

  1. B.G. Simons

    Interesting! Your triologisms remind me of the two-word kennings in Beowulf.

    Reply

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