Thursday, March 18, 2010


Detail of a stained glass window from a Church in Normandy. From Caen, I believe.
Dear Gentle Reader,

It's 3WW time, again.

This week the prompt words for prose or poetry are pulse, shard, and weary.

Your starter is a titled picture with, as always, descriptions if you run your mouse over the image.

Then, as usual, I serve up three haiku/senryu, each with an American Sentence title.

For dessert, a musical offering.

If you're like me, have dessert first and enjoy it while reading.

So, away.

I have to get back to packing.

We are in the midst of moving and we have too much stuff.

So, sorry if I try to store some words here, on the web, but there is no room in the stables tonight...

And, with that, let the games begin with pulse, shard, and weary...

On safari, the carnivore rules over all--- ROWRRR... (sob) ...CruNCH ... ... ... ... ... ... ( pulse...)

shards of meat (and bone)
but, no pulse (legume, bean, pea)
weary vegan pales...

The origin of glass, a Western, or a Near (not Far) Eastern, tale...

Pliny's Phoenicians
found proto-shards where weary
sailors' fires throbbed, pulsed.

What is this poem all about?

Well, Gentle Reader, a circuitous explanation ensues. Sorry.

You ought to know, by now, that your humble scribe is (currently) based in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is right beside China.

Hong Kong is even in China, if you believe the Mainlanders rather than your visa requirements.

Hong Kong is certainly within the media orbit of modern China.

Recent Chinese 'historical' pop culture movies (Red Cliff, for example) extol the fact that ancient China invented almost everything.

Like soccer. (A specious claim, at best).

Your humble scribe and Heroine find themselves amused to note that almost all things are Chinese these days.

Surely Chinese.

CERN and the Higgs Boson?
Surely Chinese.

The alphabet?

Vice? ...

...Well, those are obviously foreign.

...Especially when you read or hear the news, in China...

But, glass?
The beach at Mont St-Michel, Normandy, France, as seen through transfigured beach... the medieval glass of Mont St-Michel

Glass is definitely not Chinese.

Glass is one of those areas where, if you are a Westerner, you can hold your head high on the origins of innovation front because the ancient Chinese did not invent glass.

The Chinese 'discovered' glass only from overland traders sometime in the end of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese dynastic history (770 BC - 476 BC) or in the beginning of the Warring States period (475 BC - 221 BC).

Pliny the Elder (23-79), however, gives us the historic/mythic origin theory that Phoenician sailors (Phoenicians are those Fertile Crescent trading folks whom most Lebanese claim as their forebears) discovered glass sometime around 5000 BC.

Pliny's Phoenician sailors/merchants were cooking their meal of reconstituted pulses in pots over fires on the beach as they rested their weary bodies...

Those Phoenician pots, in turn, while cooking the pulses, rested upon blocks of nitrates which the sailors/merchants were carrying.

And, as those blocks of nitrate melted, from the heat of cooking fires, the melted nitrate fused with silica, the sand on the beach, to form 'ur-glass'--the original man-made glass.

This originating glass was not only clear(ish) but, when the half-melted nitrate trading blocks were forcibly removed, this proto-glass would have resolved into shards of glass...

...which would have engrossed the attention of sailors, weariness forgotten, with sharp shards of a novel, transparent solid in front of them and their bellies full of reconstituted pulses.

See how easy this fit into today's 3WW words?

3WW even allowed me to point out Western technical/innovation prowess.

Even Mesopotamian prowess.

For, despite Pliny's tale of the Phoenicans of around 5000 BC, the first archaeological record of glass comes to us from pre-Bronze Age Mesopotamia--from the pre-Sumerian Uruk Period (4000 BC - 3100 BC ).

Sure, this is almost a thousand years before my beloved Akkadians spring to prominence in Mesopotamia, but, for once, I can write about something that was not invented first in China.

Thanks, Thom (Keeper of 3WW and provisioner of words).

Words like these make my day.

(Although, Thom, I would love the challenge of an x, y and z themed 3WW, too--as you suggested on your prompt page...)

To the victors go the spoils, and thanks, of royalty; to the writers...

lacking heroes' pulse, courage.
Weary shards of men...

(Of course, today, the writers get royalties.

But, not if they publishes on the web...)

There you go, hepcats.

Maybe when I am less bone weary the haiku will pop out easier.

Tonight, well, this is better than nought.

I hope.



ThomG said...

Moving where? I really thought about an X, Y & Z edition, but just couldn't pull the trigger as it were. But I know you would have made those letters sing.

Lilibeth said...

I liked the origin of glass one. Campfires on the sand? Little globs of glass?

Stan Ski said...

You really demonstrate the amount of information that can be condensed into short pieces of poetry or prose.

Amity said...

This is just too much a treat for 3WW...I enjoyed reading all, what more with some rather interesting infos...

Thanks for sharing...:)

This is my 2nd week at 3WW, and honestly, I am starting to enjoy it...

Please drop by soon...after the moving in that would be keeping you so busy... :)

Cloudia said...

Wednesday means YOU!

Aloha from Hawaii my busy Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Thomma Lyn said...

Simply fabulous! Your posts are a feast for the mind and the senses.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I love the little history lesson. I knew about the Phoenicians and glass, but it's so much fun to find others who can re-tell the tale.

Andy Sewina said...

Phew, packed and loaded with information!!!

Love the pusillanimous Ku, which was exactly the opposite!

murat11 said...

Clearly, Brother Gore must be Chinese. Glassy meditations notwithstanding, "weary shards of men" gets my blue ribbon. Definitely been there.

The Harvey'd Idol kicks some very righteous ass. Thanks for that, too.

Best wishes in the move . . .

artpredator said...

What a journey you've taken us on here! Esp the one about glass!

good luck moving!

artpredator said...

What a journey you've taken us on here! Esp the one about glass!

good luck moving!

Teresa said...

Amazing post today, Chris. Congratulations on beating the Chinese at their "we invented it" game :) I, too, can hold my head high now. Love the music.

Jay Thurston said...

Great history lesson, and I also found your thoughts on the Hong Kong and China relationship both accurate and amusing.

Dee Martin said...

I did not know about the history of glass, I didn't know about the Harvey Girls (great rendition of White Wedding!) and loved the line "Weary shards of men". Good luck on the move!

Tumblewords: said...

Terrific, as always! The last one was my very favorite. There's always too much stuff at moving time, isn't there. Good luck!