Zinka and Deep Secret

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Fri May 2 15:47:56 EDT 2003

Anita said...
> On the words in the Lyke-Wake dirge and Deep Secret: I have always liked
> the fact that the bus station is Whinmore bus-station, and my impression
> is that it is a cold and bony place too. (Maybe that's the way I think
> of waiting in bus stations anyway). I assumed that the Whinnes are the
> crows/black birds that appear to peck at them, but was there a
> suggestion earlier that they are berries of the spiky bushes.

Whin is a word still used here (and in parts of England/Scotland/Wales,
afaik) to mean furze, or gorse.  Spiky bushes.

> even in the town of Wantchester the hotel is difficult to get to, unless
> you try not to go there,

Very Alice Through the Looking Glass!

> Thinking.. On their journey they had to take candles (light), wool,
> grain and salt.

Items of charity, perhaps - light, warmth and food?

> Robbie had never given anything
> away, but it didn't stop him completing the journey (this is a great
> relief - perhaps the three children were able to complete their journey
> too).

It did make his journey more difficult, though.  And the three children
hadn't friends to share their supplies, once Rob, Nick and Maree went on.
And remember that the reason that Rob never gave charity was that he was
made to wear everything until it wore completely out - he hadn't the
opportunities of Nick and Maree to give clothes that were old but not

It seems as if, if you give charity, you'll have an easier journey (and I'm
assuming that in the original ballad, the whole thing refers to Purgatory);
if you don't, it will be harder (or you'll have to spend more time there),
but if you really want to make it, you can.  Eventually.  And maybe a small
allowance will be made if you were never given an opportunity to be

> Nick and
> Marie came back a long way apart even though they left together and
> seemed to follow the same path, so their return journeys were very
> personal.  OTOH, Andrew and Robbie came back by a different path and
> came back together, so the Babylon journey "rules" aren't totally fixed.

I suspect the rules work in various (slightly?) different ways for every
person that comes that way.

It does seem to be a death and rebirth journey; whether rebirth is back on
your own plane of existence (for want of a better term) or in another world
(possibly Heaven) probably depends on your own choices.  And in all the
stories I've read, returning from death to life (which is what Maree has to
do) is a difficult journey, and not always successful.

Andrew, of course, is also returning from a sort of death to life, but he is
(a) disgustingly powerful in his own right and (b) has got Rob along with
him as a guide - and (c) is probably Intended to come back, so has forces
working for him.

And I feel incoherence coming on, so I'll stop here. :-)

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
- O. Cromwell

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