Wednesday, December 15, 2010

***[new words at the end] "Dulce" is a Latin word for "sweet." It lingers on directly and centrally in European languages that come from Latin.

In Spanish, "dulces" equals sweets as in candy. In Latin and languages from Latin, "dulce" goes deeper than candy more often than in English. "Dulce compania" is how Spanish says guardian angel. In the Fellini movie "La Dulce Vita," (The Sweet Life) sweet means something deeper that sweet means in English, deeply pleasurable. "Dulce" in that title, given the content of the movie, also implies corrupt. We went through all these sufferings like in the Fellini movie, "La Strada" (The Road) and the road has taken us to sheer self-indulgence.

In English, "dulc-" for sweet is on the periphery. The dulcimer has sweet tones and is not a high-impact instrument, cultural-wide. It is relatively easy to make and easy to play, as musical instruments go, and came in the United States from the poor, beautiful mountains where people were isolated and had to make their own everything. It came from little isolated hollers in the AppalachianMountains where it was one of the only instruments, maybe the only one in a given home, so the sweetness of all instrumental music could be heard in it in the deeps between the quiet green hills.

"Dulcet" can be used to describe a sweet voice in English, but at this date is likely to be used sarcastically, and in writing. Saying someone is speaking in dulcet tones is likely to imply they are running a con, speaking a self-serving non-truth is a voice too good to be truthful.

The officers in the British army in the war that started in 1914 would have known the Latin dulce words and many other Latin words readily. Many had gone to exclusive boarding schools, called public schools, where Latin and Greek were taught much from the beginning and all the way through.

If they saw a Latin saying they could probably often understand it directly without translating in their heads into English. They had also seen many Latin sayings before. They may have picked up the Italian peninsula implications of sweet, profoundly the right thing, very good, pleasurable in a deep way.

They would have known right off in reading, and probably already knew the Latin saying that in English says, "It is sweet and fitting to die for your country."

"Men Who March Away" is a book edited by I.M. Parsons that collects some of the poetry written by men who fought in the first world war. There was a great deal for him to choose from as people at that time, especially the highly standardly educated, thought in terms of writing poetry, knew how to do rhythm and rhyme, and routinely wrote poetry when they felt deeply.

The poems are printed in chronological order, so we can feel the men change, individually and as a group as they experience combat.

People who march away to combat do not, if they live, return the same person. If they wanted to go to combat, they may have wanted to go so they could be changed. The changes they get are not necessarily the changes they wanted, or the kind of changes they wanted.


Men can be very sweet. They probably wouldn't like that word for it. They can notice ways to make things better and take action to make the betterness happen, a sweet impulse backed up with work.

Sweet, a person being sweet sounds kind of little. Sometimes guys really want to make thing better in a large way. This is not always good for them or others.

Rupert Brook always wanted to be a poet, was a poet, and wrote, young, a poem about being in a war that was a hit poem, in a time when a poem without music could really be a hit.

He became massively famous because of the poem. He died in the war.