Asperging words

October 3, 2022

Here’s a verb I don’t remember encountering before. It crops up near the end of this passage in Seamus Deane’s novel Reading in the Dark (1996), where the author describes a dramatic childhood winter in Northern Ireland:

Paperback book cover of Vintage edition features a photo, black and white but tinted pink, of two schoolboys in uniform. One boy looks melancholy; the other smiles cheerfully at the camera. Below the author's name and book title is a line from the publisher about the book winning the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and the Irish Literature Prize 1997.The Germans came only once, made a bombing run on the docks where the American ships were lined up in threes and fours, missed, and never came again. The sirens had given several false alarms before, but this time the throb of the approaching planes seemed to make them more frenetic. We woke to their wild moanings, were carried to safety under the stairs and cradled sleepily between our parents, lightly asperged by the bright drops of cold Lourdes water that my mother would every so often sprinkle on us. I remember the silence when the droning stopped and then the long lamentation of each plane’s dive.

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Bookmash: Dead Voices Reading

June 1, 2011

A new bookmash:

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Dead Voices Reading

All the dead voices
Reading in the dark,
Stories of five decades rumble
Tumble in search of memory
Up the line to death.
Almost there.

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And an old one (well, from last November):

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The News from Ireland

A night to remember
The news from Ireland;
Something under the bed is drooling.

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These two bring the bookmash count to 10. Nos. 1–8 are here.

Thanks to the authors: Declan Hughes, Seamus Deane, Hermann Hesse, Joe R. Lansdale, Eric R. Kandel, the war poets, and Nuala O’Faolain (Dead Voices Reading); Walter Lord, William Trevor, and Bill Watterson (The News from Ireland); and thanks also to artist Nina Katchadourian, whose series of Sorted Books got me started.