Things that make a man

Winter thing: Preseli snowman, West Wales

Inverted Commas 8: Wintersmith

With a little over a month to go to a miserable Brexit, I thought I’d quote this skipping rhyme from Terry Pratchett’s fantasy Wintersmith to illustrate my belief that for some people you can provide the ingredients that make up a human but they may still lack the essentials that would make them truly humane.

These are the Things that Make a Man

“Iron enough to make a nail,
Lime enough to paint a wall,
Water enough to drown a dog,
Sulphur enough to stop the fleas,
Potash enough to wash a shirt,
Gold enough to buy a bean,
Silver enough to coat a pin,
Lead enough to ballast a bird,
Phosphor enough to light the town,
Poison enough to kill a cow,

Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.”

Here’s the related track from folk rock band Steeleye Span, from their 2013 Wintersmith album which was inspired by Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching novels:


Thanks to Dale of Earth Balm Creative for introducing me to the Tiffany Aching series: a review of Wintersmith will appear on the anniversary of Pratchett’s passing, March 12th as part of March Magics

5 thoughts on “Things that make a man

  1. earthbalm

    Looking forward to reading your post Chris. I recently re-read the whole Tiffany sequence and noticed many things I had missed before. I’ve also recently completed reading the Bromeliad trilogy by Terry Pratchett – the gnomes are proto-wee-free–men! Thanks for putting the whole rhyme together, I’ve only ever read it in pieces in the text. It didn’t occur to me to type it out complete.

    Have to visit Llanfabon on March 10th and hope to drop off some books then.
    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Dale, I’ll forewarn warn my daughter. 😊

      The rhyme: I’d got most of the rhyme sorted out by, like you, trawling through the pages, but then after remembering the Steeleye Span project (I think it was you who mentioned it) was mildly disappointed to find that they’d taken a few liberties with the text. Finally, Goodreads furnished the full text and I was pleased to see I’d got most of it right! I’ve scheduled the review for March 12th, aptly enough, though may tinker with it before then.

      Also like you I find new things on rereads: it’s happening now with rereading Howl’s Moving Castle and, for example, discovering that Howl is even more Welsh than I remember him being. Which makes it more fitting that I’ll be finishing it in March! So much to look forward to with Pratchett’s oeuvre, but I daren’t consider anything else until I’ve finished Tiffany’s story…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Things that make a man — Calmgrove – Earth Balm Creative

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