Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Horicultur* (for Horticulture)

With eight lapses in OhioLINK (two of which were original sins), Horicultur* would appear to be a low-to-moderate type typo. Robert Service was an Englishman of Scottish descent who moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, when he was 21 years old. A popular, accessible, serviceable writer, Service became known as the "Canadian Kipling." He had a rather rough-and-tumble approach to his subject matter and I can recall my own father reciting "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" with a certain gusto and flair. In another poem, titled "My Madonna," the poet seems to have positioned his tongue in his cheek, while at the same time modeling the attitude of Christ himself:

I haled me a woman from the street,
Shameless, but, oh, so fair!
I bade her sit in the model's seat
And I painted her sitting there.

I hid all trace of her heart unclean;
I painted a babe at her breast;
I painted her as she might have been
If the Worst had been the Best.

She laughed at my picture and went away.
Then came, with a knowing nod,
A connoisseur, and I heard him say;
"'Tis Mary, the Mother of God."

So I painted a halo round her hair,
And I sold her and took my fee,
And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire,
Where you and all may see.

(Portrait of Robert Service from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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