[Loch-Ruadh] Word of the Day, March 4

Cait O'Hara lady_cait at lycos.com
Mon Mar 4 11:24:34 PST 2002

blackthorn winter

A second or short winter, a week or two of cold weather occurring in the early spring.
--W.H. Long's Dictionary of the Isle of Wight Dialect, 1886

Winter's End
Although considerate variation has been observed over the centuries, March is proverbially known on both sides of the Atlantic to "come in like a lion and go out like a lamb," as William Dean Howells writes in his late-nineteenth-century poem In Earliest Spring:

Tossing his mane of snows in wildest eddies and tangles,
Lion-like, March cometh in, hoarse, with tempestuous breath,
Through all the moaning chimneys, and thwart all the hollows and angles
Round the shuddering house, threatening of winter and death.
But in my heart I feel the life of the wood and the meadow
Thrilling the pulses that own kindred with fibres that lift
Bud and blade to the sunward, within the inscrutable shadow,
Deep in the oak's chill core, under the gathering drift.

Never meddle in the affairs of dragons;
For you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
-- Acacia

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