Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swan Song       [elegaic sonnet / etymological riff]

The methane in Siberia now thawing
    is enough to choke the planet.
Methane locked in oceans
    is even now thawing out.
        Where have you people been?
The value of the literary is now
    in writing our own individual
        and social swan songs.
  -- Arago Press (Silliman Blog comment)

Methane ethane propane butane
methanol ethanol propanol butanol
swan is from sva?   the self as the bird?
swan is from svan   Kartvelians or Georgians

in the Caucasus dwelling on the upper Ingur river
where methane is thawing   from thawen from thawian
akin to the Middle Dutch douwen (to thaw)
the Old Norse theyja the Latin tabes

(wasting disease) tabemacronre (to waste away
to melt) tabescere (melt gradually, decay)
the Greek temacronkein (to melt) the Ossetic
thayun (to thaw, to melt) the Armenian

t'anam I moisten   the word has been seeping
and somewhere downriver   the Paramahamsa


methane ethane propane butane: the first four (simplest) alkanes
(methanol ethanol propanol butanol = the corresponding alcohols)

Paramahamsa (Skt.) (generally rendered as): Great Swan, the Self-Realized soul. Albeit the wise Wikipedia points out that "swan" was an erroneous translation by English scholars, and suggests "goose" for hamsa (Anser indicus -- the bar-headed goose of Central Asia).
[T]he characteristic of the wild goose is noted for its discipline, stamina, grace and beauty. This is especially true for the Anser indicus, whose migratory route from Central Asia to India and back, forces it to fly over the Himalayas twice a year. A feat which makes it fly higher than any know bird. And that is why God is also denoted as the "Paramahamsa."


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