Read Shakespeare, read Spenser, read Milton and even mad John Clare and you will find zephyrs ruffling every few pages. Apparently zephyrs were everywhere back then, much like passenger pigeons only quieter and less messy. Alas, these days they, like passenger pigeons, are extinct.(Purists will point out that while the word itself no longer remains current, the west wind, which, after all, is what zephyr evokes, still wafts across the landscape, causing thistles and daises to both dance and be stationary. Who has time for purists?)
Speaking of elegant words now abandoned, when did you last stumble across eglantine in a current book or magazine? Poets of the past could hardly fashion a sonnet without including that flowering wonder, which usually was synonymous with wild roses, or, rarely, honeysuckle.
Where have all the best words gone?
Ours is a gritty age, the era of gimme and gotcha, a no-holds-barred, roll-up-your-sleeves affair, where the grrrr of ear-wrecking machinery vies with infomercials to capture our attention. We are too numb, too bewildered, too scattered to pieces to stop and smell the eglantine or be soothed by a zephyr’s lullaby.
These days—and I say this with sadness—the only places to find zephyrs and eglantine are in themouse-nibbled poetry anthologies, those odoriferous tomes packed cover to cover with poems only read by oddballs and misfits, who, to avoid detection, may answer to farmer or lumberjack.
Shown above this brief text is honeysuckle found in a fence row.
Welcome to 2013.