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Words are fascinating. And the ideas they represent. And the connections...

Longstanding Harlow Writers member ANNE NEUHAUS reflects...


Words are fascinating.  And the ideas they represent. And the connections.


Let’s start with the word for seed.

The Russian word is семя (semya),  in French semer to sow. And of course the English semen.   In German we have same (zarma) and säen (ze’un) to sow  


Almost the same as семя (semya) and with an extension of  the meaning, the Russian семья (sem’ya) means family - one’s ‘seed’., 


In Hebrew the word for family is mishpacha, which derives from the verb shaphach, to pour.  Seed, on the other hand, is zera.   Now there is an interesting connection between zera and the word zero’a, which means arm  The arm, of course, scatters the seed.

In English and other languages, arm and arms have a less bucolic meaning. .’Arma virumque cano…’ said Vergil: ‘I sing of arms and the man…’

The arm which in one culture sows the seed to nourish, in another tradition holds the sword and destroys.

When, at some future time, the swords/arms are beaten into ploughshares, human arms will revert to their peaceful use, sowing seeds to nurture the human family.

© April 2018 

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