Friday, May 07, 2010

Morning Has Broken

Why is the start of a new day, that essential salve for the painful itch of bad days and being human, described with more or less violent imagery?

I sought out the etymology of the phrase ("look up," y'all--see yesterday's post), but first was blammo-ed in the face with some breaking hype--I mean, news (that is as relevant as the price of tea in China. Or guns in Texas).

I couldn't find anything really definitive, even in the Oxford Dictionary, and that was the OED database accessible only through a University login. "Daybreak" first appeared around 1530, as in some old dude writing " At daye breake, au jour creuer." So, did the French come up with it? Why does day "break." I've seen a few sunups and there's no crack, no forceful burst or acute expulsion of the our closest star.

Today, when this unhappy event and this other desperate act happened (on the heels of these earlier two events), I vaguely grasped how the start of a new day does not bring comfort or refreshment to some. For some, dawns do not break but rupture, not marking the start of forward action but the beginning of the end.

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