Friday, June 12, 2009



Eliot Pattison, Bone Rattler (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2008), p. 116:
With tiny cramped writing, no doubt to preserve his precious paper, Evering had written a series of disconnected words without punctuation. Lost, Duncan read, then heart and stony run, oak, then bones. He faltered at a word he could not fully decipher, written three times. Tastgua, it said, or Tashgua. It could have been Teshqua, Latin for wastelands—the kind of word Evering would use in his poems.
The Latin for wastelands isn't teshqua, but tesqua or tesca. See Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary:
tesca (tesqua), ōrum (the sing. v. in foll.), n.,

I. rough or wild regions, wastes, deserts: tesqua sive tescua κατάκρημνοι καὶ ῥάχεις καὶ ἔρημοι τόποι, Gloss. Philox.: deserta et tesca loca, Att. ap. Varr. L. L. 7, § 11 Müll.; v. Varr. in loc.: loca aspera, saxea tesca tuor, Cic. poët. ap. Fest. pp. 356 and 357 Müll.; so, deserta et inhospita tesca, Hor. Ep. 1, 14, 19: nemorosa, Luc. 6, 41: remota, App. Flor. p. 358, 22; cf. id. ib. p. 348, 22. Such places were sacred to the gods: loca quaedam agrestia, quae alicujus dei sunt, dicuntur tesca, Varr. l.l.—Sing.: templum tescumque finito in sinistrum, an old religious formula, Varr. l.l.; cf. Fest. l.l.

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