green backs break
in fields of these
as the love of
labor's lost leucadia
leaps in cost:
on body, on soul.
keep the love
that is your
above the fields
that is your
in short years
and in long;
the price you paid
Musings on Generations
- On green: green is a color. It is also an adjective
meaning "innocent," as in a newly sprouted plant. A
"greenback" is a dollar bill.
- On breaking: "backbreaking work" is work
requiring much effort and endurance, such as
establishing a homestead, or carrying a heavy
weight. "Breaking something in" means to use
something in such a way as to lessen its stiffness.
- On burial: Ancestors can be buried in the ground.
Prehistoric cemetaries are known as grave fields.
Corpses are known as stiffs. Buried bodies provide
nutrients for things which grow in the ground (e.g.
plant stock), such as the roots of trees.
- On yield: Yield means the amount "earned" on
money. But income can be considered "unearned" if
it was not done in return for labor. Money is
thought of as growing when the money it generates
is added back to it. Someone who refuses to break a
vow or promise can be considered unyielding or stiff.
Yield is also the production of the earth as a result of
nutrients put into it and the hard work (labor) done
on it to produce crops. The future growth of crops
can be "uncertain" due to the unpredictability of the
weather, just as the future growth of money can be
"uncertain" due to the unpredictability of economic
- On stock: In finance, stock is the capital raised by a
business by issuing shares. Long-term captial gain
is made when the stock is held for more than one
year before being sold; short-term capital gain
results from selling stock held less than that. The
price of stock varies throughout the year. In
agriculture, stock can be the type of animal or plant
grown in a particular area.
- On generation: A generation is an age group living
at the same time. In biology, "generation" signifies
the reproduction and growth of animals or plants.
- On English common law: In english common law,
a person cannot be convicted of homicide for a
death that occurs more than a year and a day after
his or her act(s). This dates from at least 1278.
- On Sir Gawain: In Sir Gawain and the Green
Knight, when the green knight visits king Arthur's
court on new years day, Gawain cuts off his head.
The green knight then reminds him to seek him in a
year and a day at the Green Chapel. Sir Gawain
agrees, and faithfully keeps his vow, offering his
own neck in exchange.
- On Love Labour's Lost: In Shakespeare's Love's
Labour's Lost, the king of Navarre and his 3 friends
take vows of celibacy for 3 years. A princess and 3
of her ladies from France arrive, and each male falls
in love with one of them. Their messages are
intercepted and each lord accuses the other of
breaking their vow. So they agree to collectively
break their vow and openly pursue the women. The
women realize this and fool the men into wooing the
wrong women. Upon the death of the princess's
father (a king) and their subsequent plans to return
to France, the men pledge to marry them, but they
are repulsed because they broke their vows;
however the ladies agree to reconsider in a year and
a day, and they leave. (https://www.bard.org/studyguides/synopsis-loves-labours-lost).
- On English ballads: The ballad The Unquiet Grave
reads as follows : "I'll sit and mourn all at her
grave / For a twelvemonth and a day. / The
twelvemonth and a day being up, / The dead began
to speak: / 'Oh who sits weeping on my grave, / And
will not let me sleep?'" (Child's The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1860), ballad # 78).
- On paganism: In many pagan traditions, a neophyte
(i.e. someone "green") needs to study for a year and
a day before being accepted.
- On time: The definition of a leap year is a year and
a day (at least in non-leap years).
- On Sappho: Sappho leaped to her death from the
Leucadian Rock in response to her vows of love
being rejected. Alexander Pope writes: "Before my
sight a wat'ry virgin stood: / She stood and cried, 'O
you that love in vain! / Fly hence, and seek the fair
Leucadian main./ ... / Haste, Sappho, haste, from
high Leucadia throw / Thy wretched weight, nor
dread the deeps below!'" (Pope's 1707 translation
from the fifteenth of Ovid's Epistles).
Suggestion: Reread the Poem