Home > Prompts, Ready for Prime Time > A Term of Art of War at an Organ Recital

A Term of Art of War at an Organ Recital

The phrase has pleasing (even pious)
Connotations, like
Arbeit Macht Frei,
“Molotov Cocktail,” and Enola Gay.

– From Formal Application, Donald W. Baker (1923-2002)

Deep in meditation by the end of an hour of organ music
in an old church pockmarked by manhole-size plaques
To the Glory of God  commemorating rich men’s sons
blown into the next life on the winds of war,
I note the last piece:

Carillion-Sortie – Henri Mulet  (1878-1967)

I know the term sortie as a term of art of war.
More generally it means to go out, leave
in the Middle French word sortir
and learned its meaning of
deployment from a strongpoint
by associating with other tough romance words:
salient
petard
enfilade
and
carronade
the last of which sounds pleasantly like a musical term
but which was a short-barreled gun
of the late 18th and 19th centuries
that fired large shot at short range and
was used especially on warships.

Definition and certain word suggestions found at www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

I don’t really expect anyone to believe this, but I wrote this tonight and then went over to dversepoets.com to see what the prompt was, and it fit to a tee…

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  1. October 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    french always sounds enticing and romantic, no matter what the meaning of the word really is..ha..and.. arbeit macht frei…we learned that in school…in a way it does i think..

  2. October 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I am not familiar with that poet so I enjoyed trying to gain some information, reading Professor but couldn’t find Formal Application except for an explanation of the title, which was intriguing. I wonder what he was going to hunt. This is fascinating conceptually, as Claudia says the enticing sound versus the meaning. Word changelings, or logical fallacies, or most frightening, ideological monsters. Anyway, you captured my imagination and thoughts, thank you.

  3. October 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Fascinating tour of language, rhetoric and war.

  4. October 19, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Anna – not sure if the poem is public domain, but it’s copied in full here:
    http://everything2.com/title/Formal+Application

    I first read it years ago in a Norton textbook on literature.

  5. October 19, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Yes, I believe – and yes, it does fit to a tee, and yes it’s a fine (and very clever) poem which I for one would have loved to say I’d written.

  6. October 19, 2012 at 5:36 am

    not a musical term but a gun….dang…we can make anything sound pretty even when it is not cant we….

  7. October 19, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Yes, great combination of different subjects–fine work here!

  8. October 19, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Word origins are interesting (take petard, for example). Good post.

  9. October 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

    A unique piece … liked the experience of reading it! 🙂

  10. October 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Both enjambment and steampunk…well-executed. The addition of French terms of war worked so well. Guess it’s hard to think of many things more disparate than and organ recital and war. And the irony of the plaques really struck me.

  11. October 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I guess organs are kinda steampunk at that…:-)

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