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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Bird-loving Chinese

Lovely poetic sound, and I wonder what prompted Leigh Fermor to describe the Chinese in such terms as I am not aware that they love birds any more than the British or others.  But I like the notion all the same. 'Thanks to swarms of the far-wandering junks of the...

Tongue-tied penguins

Having seen a number of documentaries on penguins, who seem anything but tongue-tied, this is a baffling idea.  They seem garrulous and permanently participating in a cocktail party. '... as the northern call fell silent among the tongue-tied penguins of the Arctic...

Petunia-coloured horn

I liked this description of an old-fashioned gramophone loud speaker, which I associate with the image of a Jack Russell sitting next to, listening to 'His Master's Voice'.  However, since petunias come in a rainbow of colours, I am wondering what Leigh Fermor had in...

Night-capped Normans

Hard to think of the Normans as being 'night-capped' as in my English mind, they are more a memory of conquering invaders.  But here it seems to be they who are surprised by a marauder. 'After startling the solitary Magyar herdsman with the untimely uproar and...

Nerve-stilling quietness

A luxury in short supply, this 'nerve-stilling quietness', the antidote to enervating noise pollution.  Wish you as much of it as you need. '... the wide unruffled gleam of the sea below and the nerve-stilling quietness of the air.' Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani:...

Far-wandering junks

There's some historical truth in the far-wandering junks - until they decided to give it up more than a half millennium ago, the Chinese had a far-ranging navy, getting as far west as Zanzibar.  It was nothing but a change to a more inward-looking policy that stopped...

Cream-coloured ponies

These ponies trot up to Orlando's front door within days of the many court cases arrayed against her over a century or so being settled in her favour.  This gives her formal recognition as a living being, as opposed to a dead one, of which she had been accused,...

Spectre-pale beech

Orlando has a candid relationship with her often absent husband Bonthrop.  He visits when he can, and sometimes when he's needed, which is to say when the wind doesn't allow him to persist in his endless quest to sail around a treacherous cape. Here she is overwhelmed...

Slow-falling arrow

A name tumbling from the sky like a 'slow-falling arrow', belonging to and bringing with it her husband whose visits coincide with dead calms at sea allowing him no headway in his cape-conquering quest. And always the steel-blue feather, perhaps the same that Orlando...

Dust-choked gullet

A grasshopper's whirr, trilled from his 'dust-choked gullet', being interpreted by the hearer, as the green creature builds and reinforces his straw home. Grasshoppers are one of my favourite insects and I choose to see them as augurs of happiness and positive...

Spider-thin boats

What a delicate detail, to describe these boats on the Serpentine as 'spider-thin'. It makes me think of those hair-limbed creatures which are so light they appear to walk on water. '(She stood on the banks of the Serpentine. It was a bronze colour; spider-thin boats...

Tent-shaped sides

This tent-like landscape reminds me of the Costa Rican volcano in Arenal which also looks as if a volcanic shake could make the coating of forest slide down like a crow surfing down a steel hand-rail. 'Here the landscape ... shook itself, heaped itself, let all this...

Sponge-bag trousers

As I clearly move in the wrong circles, this was a revelation to me.  'Sponge-bag trousers' is the name given, in both American and Etonian slang (I am proficient in neither), to the striped trousers worn with morning coats and similar formal daywear for gentlemen....

Dark-plumed name

The name of the man Orlando will marry is ornate and rare and fully deserving to be called 'dark-plumed': Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, 'Bonthrop' for short.  Personally I prefer 'Luiz' but that's another story.  Again, we see Orlando's love of fallen feathers of...

Steel-blue plumes, gleams and feathers

Orlando has a love of beautiful feathers fallen from passing birds, as do I.  She seems to be particularly partial to steel-blue versions.  I like here how she picks up such a feather on a walk in the wilds, and puts it in her hat, and a moment later, due to this, or...

Plaid-like juxtapositions

Orlando is a product of the 16th and 17th centuries and seems to suffer an aesthetic culture shock when confronted with the curlicued ornamentation-run-riot of the Victorian era.  This is a description of an excrescence-encrusted monument where every conceivable...

Yellow-slashed sky

How many yellow-slashed dawns have I seen and yet never thought of them in these terms. The man, by the way, becomes her husband, after rescuing her from her prostrate state.  When asked if she was injured, she responded memorably, 'I am dead, sir'.  This is less daft...

Water-logged air

I have only once or twice experienced levels of humidity that could be described as 'water-logged air': years ago during the annual 'plum rains' in Shanghai, where the combination of heat and humidity meant you were almost as wet outside the shower as under it.  Then...

Many-coloured shield

A rich description of 17th century London, this appears to refer to Westminster Abbey, with lights brightly burning inside. 'Now the Abbey windows were lit up and burnt like a heavenly, many-coloured shield (in Orlando's fancy).' Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A...

Snuff-coloured gown

This comes in the second half of Orlando's century-spanning adventure, that is, the female half of his-now-her life.  When she returns to England after a long absence (somewhere between 20 and 200 years, you can never quite tell), she discovers a pile of court cases...

Million-candled tree

This is Sasha's description of her glittering English aristocratic lover, but she doesn't seem particularly dazzled by his brightness.  He appears to be burning up even as she is cooling down, and her attraction to him has something measured and even patronising about...

Bird-scaring boys

Virginia Woolf's Orlando gets under the skin of different moments in a 400 year stretch of English history.  Here she zooms in on the Great Frost of 1608, prising out of the ice images from an historical account given by Thomas Dekker of a rare winter when the Thames...

Many-coloured icicles

The Muscovite Embassy includes the young woman who captures Orlando's heart.  The idea of icicles being 'many-coloured' is intriguing, perhaps picking up hues flapping about in the pennants and flags of the ship. 'Among them was the ship of the Muscovite Embassy...

Wide-cheeked monster

Orlando accompanies his beloved Sasha back to the Muscovite ship, and soon loses her below deck.  When searching for her, he is sure he sees her in the arms of this oafish sailor, and suffers an attack of jealousy, which continues to assail him throughout their brief...

Cast-iron sun

A surprising image, as if the sun itself were cast in Vulcan's smithy, a great sizzling shield of liquified iron. 'Everything passes; but there is no forgetting this huge, cast-iron sun shining through the evening mist, this bitter wind laden with the scent of...

An ocean of colours

Not a sight you'd expect to see on the steppes: a tulip-filled expanse.  Never would I have associated this beautiful but relatively domesticated flower with a wild place of spontaneous blooming. 'And the steppe has its own riches.  In spring the young tulip-filled...

Like the pigeons in St Mark’s

An unusual way to capture ever-present memories, likening them to pigeons underfoot in the Piazza San Marco, cooing and strutting in 'honey-voiced congregations'.   And the quiet connection between his memories and his life is arresting. 'These memories, which are my...

Glee-singing competition

There is something a little dated about this description of someone's clothing, but I liked the 'glee-singing competition'.   I had a vague idea of 'glee' as a kind of song, but looked it up to find out more: 'A glee is an English type of part song spanning the late...

Snow-bound lama

This caught my eye as it feels a little surprising as a follow on to someone's being described as a 'learned bigot' and 'ceremonious barbarian'.  Perhaps a shift in sensibility which comes of living in an age where the Dalai Lama is widely known and commonly viewed as...

A noble, ancient world

A beautiful, gentle challenge to any perception of the steppe as being some sort of endless emptiness.  Here we find something indeed unexpected: a landscape that can rival the brilliance of autumn woods in a quiet, soul-soothing way, and whose lakes concentrate their...

Jackal-haunted nights

Elsewhere, Ryder describes 'hag-ridden nights', the night being where dangers lurk, real or imagined. May you be spared such hag-ridden or jackal-haunted moments. 'Such a prospect perhaps as a high pinnacle of the temple afforded after hungry days in the desert and...

Tapestry-hung hall

An instant image of a hundred English great halls of Tudor or later provenance, the walls lined with a thousand hours of needlecraft. 'From the Pompeian parlour to the great tapestry-hung hall which stood unchanged, as it had been designed two hundred and fifty years...

Bun-faced man

Bland and bun-faced isn't a winning combination, even before he imposes his cricket-talk on people who don't share his enthusiasm. 'Father Phipps was in fact a bland, bun-faced man with an interest in county cricket which he obstinately believed us to share.' Source:...

Half-shaven scrimshankers

Lovely word 'scrimshank', describing either something being a mess, at sixes and sevens, or referring to work-shirking, particularly in the armed forces.  The latter meaning is clearly intended here. '... those half-shaven scrimshankers I see lounging around...

Hag-ridden night

A sense of a wakeful, traumatic night, ridden by witches and haunted by demons. '... explains the distress of that hag-ridden night.' Source: Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968...

All-seeing eyes

A fictitious dedication in the novel, imbuing its artist-narrator with an almost godly omnivision, although he doesn't portray himself as being more than a financially successful society artist, painting pictures of grand aristocratic homes at a time when their owners...

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...

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...

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. ...

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...

1 Comment

  1. B.G. Simons

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

    Reply

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