First a blog post and then my short poem about (the) Hellcat.
Hellcat, what? Here is the story.
Below is a poem dedicated to the M18 tank destroyer or to the GM’s Buick Hellcat.
I cringe to say it or at least to say it out loud, but when it comes to WWII, my sympathies and loyalties are almost evenly split. On the Eastern front, on at battlefields of what is for us the Great Patriotic War, I am firmly on the side of the Russian soldier, even though not so fully on the side of the Stalinist regime. There and then, the Russian soldier fought the savage NATO predecessors, and he has saved the human civilization from the menace of so-called United Europe and its barbarism. But when we look at what is liberally described as the Western Front, the British and the Americans appear as the ultimate bad guys. If you can even pretend to play the role of an impartial observer, just take a glance at the world map. Look at where is America and where is Germany.
Likewise, the indiscriminate destruction of both the innocent life and mankind’s cultural heritage as had been made manifest in the senseless incineration of Dresden or carpet bombing raids on major densely populated urban centers like Hamburg, Bremen, and Frankfurt on Main, and wanton cruelty against both the armed forces and civilians of a civilized Christian state, Germany, by individuals who had neither been attacked nor harmed in any way, in the case of British, at least not on any remotely comparable scale, is so shocking and unprecedented in human history, that when trying to be impartial and objective, I get so perplexed and even angry, that this entire episode strikes me as the triumph of evil. The triumph of Evil over the Will.
Obviously, Germany is guilty of some alleged excesses, like the one that has been monopolized by one US-based marketing brand, but this does not justify American and British atrocities against the German population or wholesale and deliberate destruction of mankind’s cultural heritage, something that Hitler has never done in the occupied territories, not even in the East, where the Nazis behaved with what by historical standard remains almost unprecedented savagery. By contrast, the forces of Evil, the USA and its British vassal, which later formed the core of the transatlantic Fourth Reich, which by now has incorporated the lands of the Third one, had destroyed both life and architectural and historical heritage not just in Germany but also in Italy and France. The latter are supposed to be victims, but the destruction meted out at them was equally unmeasured and equally senseless.
And I am not even bringing up Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Today, Germany remains a captive nation. But for fairness’ sake, America is also a captive nation.
But, wait for a second, I’ve become distracted.
How did this poem come about? Russians or rather perhaps Russophone readers, since I don’t have an idea of who they are, in this case readers of an online blog that I stumbled upon or rather had been tricked into viewing, began to argue about the meaning of the English noun “hellcat”.
Apparently, unbeknownst to most Americans, a hellcat also means a witch, I’ve no idea of which gender, but since Russian – like German – has an idea of grammatical gender – then the word is translated as a feminine witch, which is a witch in the sense of a sorceress.
Merriam-Webster defines a hellcat as either
2: a violently temperamental person especially : an ill-tempered woman
Now, that arouse my curiosity further, and so I’d delved deeper.
The word hellcat, which of course means a feline from hell, literally, though those Russians may not know it because they are unfamiliar with English and use “dictionaries” to obtain definition even for dumb compound words while American and British dictionaries do not even furnish literal definitions of compound words (like benchmark or cocktail or scarecrow, etcetera), in fact, also has a meaning of an irascible female who performs magic tricks on innocent bystanders and hangs around with you know who. The word itself is a corruption of the word Hecate, who is a Greek goddess presiding over magic and spells.
Hecate became hellcat around 1600s. The “corruption” is natural in a way that it reflects how incomprehensible or foreign words are often altered to fit the sound and logic of common speakers of a different language. London’s Rotten Row was once Route du Roi.
In its nature, it is the same as the English word bank, which may be a financial institution, with the word in its origin being French banque, itself a borrowing from Italian banca. I guess that’s what you do from a bank, you borrow. And it can also be a shore, a riverbank or sandbank, and in that instance, the word comes from Scandinavian, probably from Danish. So both banks look the same and both words sound the same they are different in both their meaning and origin.
What makes this even more confusing is that hellcat in the sense of a cat from a hell is a compound word while hellcat in the sense of a witch isn’t.
A poem about the M18 Hellcat or rather the poem about the definition of hellcat.
What is a Hellcat?
Is it a feline from hell?
Or is it she, a vicious brown rat
And what a deity could tell?
Is she’s a sorceress, magician
Battleaxe, disgruntled bitch
A creature on an infernal mission
Or a vile wild broom-wielding witch
Is she the Goddess of bewitchment
The caster of enchanted spells
Is she for truth or for enrichment
There are so many parallels
Say, mean Hecate, what’s been meant,
Please give us an enlightened guess
To dissent from the descent
Into the Hades, I must confess
For Orpheus himself it was no fun
A bat from hell will tell us off the bat:
Hellcat made as nuisance to the Hun
The Hellcat was a man-made cat
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Some external links: The Bat’s Poetry Cave. — Fledermaus’s poetry site. Talking Writing Monster. — the irreverent and irrelevant chatter on subjects both serious and not quite. A free for all board. You can scribble anything on it without registration (but it doesn’t let spammers in). You can even post your poems. Qwant.com. — a search engine from France. It’s an alternative because there are a few alternatives, like Bing, Duckduckgo, and Ecosia. And there is Yandex, the ultimate language-oriented search engine for the Russophone world. Commercial Links: Russian Commerce – the foreign trade assistance agency Other links: Poems and poetry in Russian (if you are reading this in English, as you obviously are, then you’d have to switch the language, the language switch is on the menu. More on languages)