The obscure sin of betony
We expect to be back in <%= deadline %>
Meanwhile, allow me to praise my good colleague Michael McCarthy, The Independent’s environment editor, for his lovely Nature Studies column about wild flowers in the Hebrides.
The names of the flowers, betony (pictured), sainfoin, meadowsweet and vetch, have a power of their own, a power about which McCarthy wrote in another outstanding article three years ago:
If I were asked what betony is – and did not know – I think I would say it was an obscure sin of the Catholic church, perhaps related to simony. “Father forgive me: I have committed betony.”
In that article McCarthy referred to “American Names”, a poem by Stephen Vincent Benét. I do not normally see the point of what Molesworth calls peotry, but this is an exception. And, just as McCarthy said I would, I said, “So that’s where it comes from,” when I came to the last line.Tagged in: writing
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