Off-topic request for opinion from all you literary types

Ven vendersleighc at
Mon Jan 10 22:54:50 EST 2005

Gili wrote
<First, apologies for wording my questions as
sort of vague test questions>

Chalk me up as another who has great trouble with
the whole   "rewrite in our own words" concept
and thinks the poet says it best of all. I'm
afraid I had a horrendous flashback to English
Comprehension and never knowing what I was
supposed to say!

<For "equinoctial", I was mostly interested in 
seeing whether your response
would relate more to the force of the storm 
(equinoctial storms are
considered pretty violent), the date of the 
storm, the fact that
"equinoctial" is a climatalogical term such as 
could appear in an almanac,
or something else altogether. The responses up to

now seem to touch on all
of the above,

I had written
something like "the cold front of her tears" and 
I'm wondering if I should
change it to "the autumn storm of her tears".>

One of the things going on here is that
equinoctial is the kind of term that belongs in
an almanac, as it pertains to astronomical
events. "Cold front" is meteorological and brings
in another reference to the chill but I do think
that "autumn storms" would serve the seasonal
setting better. 

<She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.>
<For "the house/ feels chilly", both the other 
translator and myself seem to
have independently parsed it wrongly. We both 
thought the grandmother was
telling her grandchild that the house itself - 
personified - felt chilly.

Someone who 
commented on my blog claimed that
only a reader of Hebrew would parse that line as 
"the house is feeling
chilly" (because in Hebrew one shouldn't properly

say "it feels chilly",
only "it is chilly"), but a typical English 
reader would read it as meaning
"it is chilly in the house"....snip... In English
it doesn't seem to matter whether
the house is a sentient being that can feel the 
cold or not, and both
meanings can be there, side by side.>

Until you mentioned it I never considered the
reading that the house itself might feel the
cold. I read an  implied "to me", as in (she)
says "the house feels chilly to me." I think it
not so much that it doesn't matter as that if the
house were to be personified we would say it

Thanks for your input. A dictionary can teach the

meaning of a word, but only other people can tell
you what a word makes them feel and think.

Again I value a translater's insight into my own


<If only for muddling things beyond human 
comprehension, which is what
generally happens if one starts to explain 
feelings that have already been
better and more simply expressed by someone

Exactly what I always felt about that whole
English comprehension business "What does the
author mean by.........?" What he or she said of


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