Daisies. Everywhere daisies.


Daisies. Everywhere daisies.

By Michele Habel-Coffey

He held my eyes closed, covering them as we walked slowly into the light.  I felt the sun, a warmth on my bare shoulders and the smell of bitter mums.  The air was damp and crisp – early-morning summer. I drank it in, letting it roll down into my throat and settle in my chest. The dew still clung to the edges of all the world.  To the trees, and plants, and grasses, and mushrooms.  The edges of jagged barbed wire.  To my squishing shoes, filling the dry cracks of my sand-worn feet.

He lifted his hand and said, “ok”.

I opened my eyes as I breathed involuntarily inward.  I gasped.   “Oh.”

Daisies.  Everywhere daisies.

A field, acres wide and deep, edged perfectly by simple, white birches.  All daisies in between.  Dew glistening on the edges of it all.  Magnifiying.  Dazzling.  The smell of the new, the resistant, the perinneal.  Daisies.  Yellow and White.  And Green.

He turned and plucked me from the ground.  He swung me in circles like the wind.  I stirred the daisies with my flight and the scent of the sun filled the air all around.

Shibboleth: Defined


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
shibboleth (/ˈʃɪbəlɛθ/[1] or /ˈʃɪbələθ/)[2] is a word, sound, or custom that a person unfamiliar with its significance may not pronounce or perform correctly relative to those who are familiar with it. It is used to identify foreigners or those who do not belong to a particular class or group of people. It also refers to features of language, and particularly to a word or phrase whose pronunciation identifies a speaker as belonging to a particular group.


The term originates from the Hebrew word shibbólet (שִׁבֹּלֶת), which literally means the part of a plant containing grains, such as an ear of corn or a stalk of grain[3] or, in different contexts, “stream, torrent”.[4][5] The modern usage derives from an account in the Hebrew Bible, in which pronunciation of this word was used to distinguish Ephraimites, whose dialect lacked a /ʃ/ phoneme (as in shoe), from Gileadites whose dialect did include such a phoneme.

Recorded in the Book of Judges, chapter 12, after the inhabitants of Gilead inflicted a military defeat upon the tribe of Ephraim (around 1370–1070 BC), the surviving Ephraimites tried to cross the Jordan River back into their home territory and the Gileadites secured the river’s fords to stop them. In order to identify and kill these refugees, the Gileadites put each refugee to a simple test:

Gilead then cut Ephraim off from the fords of the Jordan, and whenever Ephraimite fugitives said, ‘Let me cross,’ the men of Gilead would ask, ‘Are you an Ephraimite?’ If he said, ‘No,’ they then said, ‘Very well, say “Shibboleth” (שבלת).’ If anyone said, “Sibboleth” (סבלת), because he could not pronounce it, then they would seize him and kill him by the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell on this occasion.

Judges 12:5–6, NJB

Modern usage[edit]

At the deep end of “The Crack”(Shibboleth) by Doris Salcedo (2007), Tate ModernLondon.

In numerous cases of conflict between groups speaking different languages or dialects, one side used shibboleths in a way similar to the above-mentioned Biblical use, i.e., to discover hiding members of the opposing group. Modern researchers use the term “shibboleth” for all such usages, whether or not the people involved were using it themselves.

Today, in American English, a shibboleth also has a wider meaning, referring to any “in-group” word or phrase that can be used to distinguish members of a group from outsiders – even when not used by a hostile other group. The word is less well recognized in British English and possibly some other English-speaking groups. It is also sometimes used in a broader sense to mean jargon, the proper use of which identifies speakers as members of a particular group or subculture.