This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Monday, 12 September 2016

Spot the Frippet: muse.

Ah, yes, the muses: they were the Greek goddess-protectors of the Arts and Sciences, weren't they. 

I can only usually remember Thalia and Terpsichore, but the others are Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, and Urania.

(I can't imagine how I manage to forget Polyhymnia and Urania, but I always do. Perhaps I should have called my daughters after them. Polyhymnia and Urania Prue...

...hmm, perhaps not.)

Anyway, the trouble with spotting these lovely ladies is that if they exist (which must be extremely doubtful) they seem to be invisible at the moment except in works of art. I suppose it might be worth looking for them in a museum, which word comes from muse and means The Home of the Muses, but I'm afraid that even there your chances of an encounter are vanishingly slight.

File:Lyon Mosaïque de la muse Euterpe de la salle Rameau.jpg
This is Euterpe, the Muse of Music, from the Salle de Rameau, photo by GO69

Luckily, though, there are other sorts of muses.

One muse is a bagpipe (though nowadays we generally only remember this in its diminutive form, musette - and even then not very often), but another, much easier-to-spot muse is someone (usually female) who inspires a work of art.

This means that anyone can be a muse as long as you can get a poem or a sketch out of them. You don't have to know them or get close to them:

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass!

was, presumably unknowingly, Wordsworth's muse, and so was Frances Cornford's fat white woman who nobody loves - and Cornford only saw her from a train.

So here goes, then. Look - see, over there? That lady in the leggings and T shirt?

Lady, straining at the seams
Behind your sad face
Sparkle dreams.

Have fun!

Spot the Frippet: muse. This word was in its Greek form Mousa.





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