Water in Words, Words in Water

What would you expect today, here, at this blog?  It’s blog action day this  “October 15,” a moment of a few hours “that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.”

Jane Stranz posts today to say

I can just see how important it is for churches and Christians to be part of a global campaign for water justice. Water is life! And of course water is also used by Christians in baptism and footwashing as well as being a major biblical theme. But water is a deeply practical issue too, it’s not just about well-building and sanitation, it’s also about getting communities to act together to protect and restore their existing water supplies…. I’ll write another post later today about how each of us can try to act for more water justice, locally and globally.

Coincidentally, Rachel Barenblat this week has been “blogging … from Gathering the Waters, the mikvah conference at Mayyim Hayyim.”

James F. McGrath posts to link to similar themes (religious and social).

What would you expect from me today, here, at this blog?  You get some of my favorite quotations on water and words, words and water:

Ἥφαιστον δ’ ἐκέλευσε περικλυτὸν ὅττι τάχιστα
γαῖαν ὕδει φύρειν, ἐν δ’ ἀνθρώπου θέμεν αὐδὴν
καὶ σθένος, ἀθανάτῃς δὲ εῇς εἰς ὦπα ἐΐσκειν
παρθενικῆς καλὸν εἶδος ἐπήρατον: αὐτὰρ Ἀθήνην…
–Hesiod, Work and Days (60-63)

Then he commanded Hephaistus the world-famed craftsman as soon as
Possible to mix water and earth, and infuse in it human
Speech, also strength, and to make it look like a goddess, and give it
Likewise a girl-like form that was pretty and lovesome. Athena…
–Daryl Hine translating

You’re the first person I haven’t had to tell that to. I mean, really, that’s what it is. You know, my book of poetry is called Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie.  And by that–the title–I mean:   I believe we are still so innocent.  The species is still so innocent that a person who is apt to be murdered believes that the murderer, just before he puts the final wrench on his throat, will have enough compassion to give him one sweet cup of water.   If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t get up in the morning.
–Maya Angelou (to interviewer Sheila Weller)

It is an awfully lonesome business, and, as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you’re going to go into it at all, I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald (to his daughter, Frances Scott “Scottie” Fitzgerald)


6 responses to “Water in Words, Words in Water

  1. Thanks so much for the link!
    and I love teh bit about writing and swimming under water …

    • Appreciated your link to your FB friend’s post today! Looking forward to your post about “about how each of us can try to act for more water justice, locally and globally.”

  2. Happy trendy-trendy-trendy blog “action” (cough) day.

    Articles of Impeachment against Quinbus Flestrin

    Whereas, by a Statute made in the Reign of his Imperial Majesty Calin Deffar Plune, it is enacted, That whoever shall make water within the Precincts of the Royal Palace, shall be liable to the Pains and Penalties of High Treason; Notwithstanding, the said Quinbus Flestrin, in open breach of the said Law, under colour of extinguishing the Fire kindled in the Apartment of his Majesty’s most dear Imperial Consort, did maliciously, traitorously, and devilishly, by discharge of his Urine, put out the said Fire kindled in the said Apartment, lying and being within the Precincts of the said Royal Palace, against the Statute in that case provided, etc., against the Duty, etc.

    That’s how I think of you, Kurk — as the Gulliver who puts out fires of the high and mighty by making water.

    • water water everywhere — Theophrastus — but not a drop to drink.

      For a moment I thought I was a pilgrim on a journey, hearing an old wives’ bath tale (of something of 127):

      I wol bistowe the flour of myn age
      120 In the actes and in fruyt of mariage.
      Telle me also, to what conclusion
      Were membres maad of generacion,
      And of so parfit wys a wright ywroght?
      Trusteth right wel, they were maad for noght.
      125 Glose whoso wole, and seye bothe up and doun,
      That they were maked for purgacioun
      Of uryne, and oure bothe thynges smale
      Were eek to knowe a femele from a male,
      And for noon other cause, -say ye no?
      130 The experience woot wel it is noght so.
      So that the clerkes be nat with me wrothe,
      I sey this: that they maked ben for bothe,
      That is to seye, for office and for ese
      Of engendrure, ther we nat God displese.
      135 Why sholde men elles in hir bookes sette
      That man shal yelde to his wyf hire dette?
      Now wherwith sholde he make his paiement,
      If he ne used his sely instrument?
      Thanne were they maad upon a creature
      140 To purge uryne, and eek for engendrure.
      But I seye noght that every wight is holde,
      That hath swich harneys as I to yow tolde,
      To goon and usen hem in engendrure.
      Thanne sholde men take of chastitee no cure.
      145 Crist was a mayde, and shapen as a man,
      And many a seint, sith that the world bigan;
      Yet lyved that evere in parfit chastitee.
      I nyl envye no virginitee.
      Lat hem be breed of pured whete-seed,
      150 And lat us wyves hoten barly-breed;

      Yes, I know the theme, today, is not barly bread but water for baths and such purposes:
      But now to purpos, why I tolde thee
      That I was beten for a book, pardee.
      Upon a nyght Jankyn, that was oure sire,
      720 Redde on his book as he sat by the fire
      Of Eva first, that for hir wikkednesse
      Was al mankynde broght to wrecchednesse,
      For which that Jhesu Crist hymself was slayn,
      That boghte us with his herte blood agayn.
      725 Lo, heere expres of womman may ye fynde,
      That womman was the los of al mankynde.
      Tho redde he me how Sampson loste hise heres,
      Slepynge, his lemman kitte it with hir sheres,
      Thurgh whiche tresoun loste he bothe hise yen.
      730 Tho redde he me, if that I shal nat lyen,
      Of Hercules and of his Dianyre,
      That caused hym to sette hymself afyre.
      No thyng forgat he the penaunce and wo
      That Socrates hadde with hise wyves two,
      735 How Xantippa caste pisse upon his heed.
      This sely man sat stille as he were deed;
      He wiped his heed, namoore dorste he seyn
      But, “Er that thonder stynte, comth a reyn.”
      Of Phasipha, that was the queene of Crete,
      740 For shrewednesse hym thoughte the tale swete-
      Fy! Speke namoore – it is a grisly thyng –
      Of hir horrible lust and hir likyng.
      Of Clitermystra for hire lecherye,
      That falsly made hir housbonde for to dye,
      745 He redde it with ful good devocioun.
      He tolde me eek for what occasioun
      Amphiorax at Thebes loste his lyf.
      Myn housbonde hadde a legende of his wyf
      Eriphilem, that for an ouche of gold
      750 Hath prively unto the Grekes told
      Wher that hir housbonde hidde hym in a place,
      For which he hadde at Thebes sory grace.

      But let that be,
      All Greke to me:

      “Let a man not clean his skin in water that a woman has washed in. For a hard penalty follows on that for a long time,” Hesiod advises (Op. 753-55). When we focus on [male] Greek attitudes to and treatment of the female, we see anxiety about boundaries from a particular perspective—that of hygiene, physical and moral. (Anne Carson, Men in the Off Hours, page 130)

      Happy Blog Action Day to you too!

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