Sunday, August 19, 2007

farouche, feet, machine

I have always like the word farouche in French, but not in English. In French, it evokes a particular sort of shyness, a feature of wildness, of the savage and untamed. I imagine as farouche, the young, both animal and human, beautiful and reluctant to engage with those who come too near. I see lowered eyes, a turning body, which bounds into the undergrowth. But this sense of farouche does not fit the English word which is spelled the same. "Sullen, shy and repellent in manner", says the Oxford Dictionary (first sighting 1765), which acknowledges its French origin; but the wild element has been lost, and this is confirmed by the way the adopted English word has since been used. Chambers English Dictionary confirms the distinction. It defines the English word as: shy or ill at ease; sullen and unsociable; socially inexperienced and lacking in polish. But it nicely acknowledges that the French word, from which it is taken, means: wild, shy savage.

Passing the window of house I see a pair of bare feet pointing into the air.

There is something pleasing about the sound of some machines. In Salisbury's this morning a lift truck loaded with pallets of fruit and vegetables, goes "ooer ... ooer... ooer", a gentle, high pitched hum.

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