Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched

Prefer the concrete word to the abstract

Prefer the single word to the circumlocution

Prefer the short word to the long

Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.  


(H.W. & F.G. Fowler)

And they bent lower to their work, and their hands flew to the cotton.  They raced at the picking, raced against time and cotton weight, raced against the rain and against each other – only so much cotton to pick, only so much money to be made.  They came to the other side of the field and ran to get a new row.  And now they faced into wind, and they could see the high grey clouds moving over the sky toward the rising sun.  And more cars parked along the roadside, and new pickers came to be checked in.  The line of people moved frantically across the field, weighed at the end, marked their cotton, checked the weights into their own books, and ran for new rows.


The Grapes of Wrath


The doors of the empty houses swung open, and drifted back and forth in the wind.  Bands of little boys came out from the towns to break the windows and to pick over the debris, looking for treasures.  And here’s a knife with half the blade gone;  That’s a good thing.  And smells like a rat died hzere.  And look what Whitey wrote on the wall.  He wrote that in the toilet in school, too, an’ teacher made ‘im wash it off.  When the folks first left, and the evening of the first day came, the hunting cats slouched in from the fields and mewed on the porch.  And when no one came out, the cats crept through the open doors and walked mewing through the empty rooms.  And they went back to the fields and were wild cats from then on, hunting gophers and field mice, and sleeping in ditches in the day-time.  When the night came, the bats, which had stopped at the doors for fear of light, swooped into the houses and sailed about through the empty rooms, and in a little while they stayed in dark rooms corners during the day, folded their wings high, and hung head-down among the rafters, and the smell of their droppings was in the empty houses.

And the mice moved in and stored weed seeds incorners, in boxes, in the backs of drawers in the kitchens.  And weasels came in to hunt the mice, and the brown owls flew shrieking in and out again.

Now there camea little shower.  The weeds sprang up in front of the doorstep, where they had not been allowed, and grass grew up through the pporch boards.  The houses were vacant, and a vacant house falls quickly apart.  Splits started up the sheathing from the rusted nails.  A dust settled on the floors, and only mouse and weasel and cat tracks disturbed it.

On a night the wind loosened a shingle and flipped it to the ground.  The next wind pried into the hole where the shingle had been, lifted off three and the next, a dozen.  The midday sun burned through the hole and threw a glaring spot on the floor.  The wild cats crept in from the fields at night, but they did not mew at the doorstep any more.  They moved like shadows of a cloud across the moon, into the room, to hunt the mice.  And on windy nights the doors banged, and the rugged curtains fluttered in the broken windows;


(John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, PART II)


Gorter – Liedjes


O mijn hart, ga in de kelder

Van mijn ziel, ga in de sterren,

Buiten, – ga in de toekomst.

Het was donker,

hij lag op zijn bed.

Hij had het raam op den kaak gezet,

opdat het getij van den nacht

door de baai van zijn kamer kon gaan … 


(Marsman, Dierenriem I, uit: Tempel en kruis)

De lamp die knielen kan als een kameel

en rijst als een giraffe.


(Marsman, Tempel en Kruis, Dierenriem I)

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