Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Prince's Terror

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *Click Here*

This week's words:

False; Illustrate; Sallow

The Prince's Terror

One false stepping stork
will illustrate my shudder
at finding your face
a mask, a sallow
cast of light as your blood turns
its twisted liver
shade and you then fall
into your sick sleep after
eating that apple.

October 31, 2012 4:49 AM


During World War I and into the twenties of the last century there was an epidemic in tandem with influenza and polio called encephalitis lethargica or sleeping sickness. It killed a third of its victims and horribly maimed another third. Only one third of those who fell ill eventually recovered. Others might experience a brief recovery only to fall to a kind of Parkinson's and require lifelong institutionalization. Victims would often sleep round the clock for months. This was not coma but a genuine sleep apparently related to inflammation of certain portions of the brain. Doctors never found a disease vector or a cure. There is nothing preventing the resurgence of this dread disease. It attacked children and adults alike.

15 comments:

  1. Such a rich concentrated dose of poison..apples must never be trusted..sleeping sickness may be here..in other forms perhaps..as i read i imagined a child..wishing the stork had sent him to a different house..waiting for that twisted liver..to finally fall asleep..so he was safe..but that's just me..jae

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    1. Oh sleeping sickness is here but only takes occasional single victims rather than appearing as an epidemic. It was pandemic touching Europe and North America both at the same time in the twenties but was so confusing in its symptomology that it was never clearly understood.

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  2. great use of this information to post this poem.

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  3. Strong writing here--rather appropriate material for this Halloween day! Well done.

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    1. Nico, I did have Halloween in mind. :D

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  4. Interesting bit of history dispensed with the three words. Definitely makes one stop and think about what they just read.

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    1. There is some speculation that encephalitis lethargica may have been the cause of a variety of historical moments. For example, it may have been behind events which people used as evidence of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials.

      Also there are some stronger recent speculations as to cause. There is a Wikipedia article you can research if you are interested.

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  5. We have become inured to the fragility of life with drugs and treatment for every known ill. I suppose in our humanity we are able to combat these these outbreaks now but just think of the times that life was short indeed and death was always tapping us on the shoulder. We are just too complacent. For all that this was an excellent post.

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    1. Mr. Egg, there is no known cure for encephalits lethargica. There is also nothing known that is preventing a pandemic recurrence. The connection to some form of influenza is strong but not certain. The latest speculations involve autoimmune malfunctions but these causalities, if that is so, are troublesome... basically saying that a cure is as difficult for this disease as it is for HIV.

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  6. Very nice Sir. Thank you for the information.

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  7. a stunningly beautiful and haunting piece.

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  8. Lovely poem, with great lines and words.

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  9. This is a great poem and I like the history lesson. I could use a little more sleep actually, but not quite that much more.

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The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.


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