bine

These are the bines that twine:

There is bine, a woody vine that binds, and by binding gains its name, mutatis mutandis.

There is bearbine, two kinds of convolvulus, winding woody spirals with white trumpets, and also the Polygonum convolvulus, a black buckwheat weed which you may have eaten.

There is berbine, vervain, verbena, name mutated; holy herb and devil’s bane, tears of Isis, Hera’s tears, herbal tea of iron-herb, altar flower for Jupiter.

There is bulbine, which Pliny named, but no one knows what it is.

There is carbine or carabine, half-musket of the carabinieri, perhaps Calabrians, made to deflower the living with blossoms of blood.

There is cebine, a kind of monkey, gracile capuchins, arboreal, brachiating, tails prehensile, eating the vines and dodging the bullets.

There is colobine, a stubby-thumbed kind of old-world leaf-monkey, frivolous, folivorous, ruminant.

There is columbine, Aquilegia, granny’s bonnet, no bine in a column but sad drooping flowers like five pigeons – white, not clay – that gave it the name from columbus the dove, but not now a name that puts peace in mind.

There is concubine, who lies beside – con and cubare – supine, entwined, in a kind cubicle, profane or sacred.

There is discombine, to pull apart and break a heart.

There is gas turbine, to power your hour or transport your flower.

There is gaybine, the morning glory, a showy flower, voluptuous convolvulus.

There is hop-bine and green bine, stems of the plant that flavours your beer and eases your dreams.

There is nycticebine, the adorable slow loris, cebus of the night, eyeballs of the supper plate.

There is planorbine, a planispiral pond-snail, aquatic pulmonated gastropod mollusks, ram’s-horn of the fresh water.

There is recombine, to come together again at last or perhaps in a different way.

There is rubine, red of the ruby and robin, deep gleam of a fresh drop of blood.

There is succubine, the kind of a demon in female form, a concubine to recombine and discombine, reputed late form of Lilith and wife of Sylvester, morbid fantasy, less a tendril and more a projection.

And there is woodbine, a name for climbing plants with woody bines, Ipomœa tuberosa, the Hawaiian woodrose, and Ampelopsis quinquefolia, that lush blue-berried hedge-maker, the Virginia creeper, parthenocissus; name also for race tracks and cigarettes and towns and streets and neighbourhoods, especially in Toronto and Calgary.

Blest be the bines that tie.

One response to “bine

  1. “a woody vine that binds, and by binding gains its name” put me in mind of:
    “Misalliance” by Flanders and Swann, “a piece ostensibly about the habits of climbing plants.”

    “The fragrant honeysuckle spirals clockwise to the sun,
    And many other creepers do the same.
    But some climb anti-clockwise, the bindweed does, for one,
    Or Convolvulus, to give her proper name.”

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