Susan Hawthorne


Suzanne Bellamy pictographic poem



Dog three bones has

Susan Hawthorne


Text Box (a pictographic poem) by Suzanne Bellamy, porcelain and oils on wood, © 2011.


moon : crunch time : three bones : dog : has


fence :  (    )  : (       ) : centred : crescent moon : howling dogs :  throw : is juggled


woman : dilly bag : carries : full moon : fish : swim : encircle :  (   )


moon sets : mountain : path : sees / follows :  crunch time : comes



dog three bones has

moon time crunch time is

(what) is thrown is juggled; dogs howl (under the moon)

crescent moon centred fence (is)

fish swim (and?) encircle full moon

woman dilly bag carries

crunch time comes

she (?)the mountain path sees/ follows : moon sets





dog three bones has

dog has three bones

in the crunch time is moon time

dogs howl under the moon in transit

juggling time

above the fence the crescent moon rises centred

fish swim encircling the reflected full moon

a woman in transit carries a dilly bag

she follows the mountain path

the moon sets

crunch times comes






moon  (nominative): crunch time (locative absolute) : three bones (accusative plural) : dog (nominative) : has (verb indicative)

fence (locative – above surmised) :  (  ?  )  : (    ?   ) : centred (gerund, completed action) : crescent moon (nominative bahuvrihi compound) : howling dogs (dual nominative with adjectival compound) :  throw (idiom: time and throw are used interchangeably) : is juggled (passive)

woman (nominative) : dilly bag (accusative) : carries (indicative – note parallel structure to first sentence) : full moon (accusative) : fish (nominative plural) : swim (indicative) : encircle (gerund) :  (   ) (surmised: reflection of moon on water)

moon (nominative) sets (indicative) : mountain (adjectival form, accusative) : path (accusative) : sees / follows (wide semantic arc, can have both meanings) :  crunch time (locative absolute) : comes (indicative)


The problematics of translation across species worlds: translating  Ooss

As is clear from this translation there remain many gaps in our understanding of Os (or Ooss).  While somewhat ossified, the language does have some transparency and a number of difficulties. The first thing to say is that the language while partially pictographic has a number of indicators for complex tenses and verb structures. Like other ancient languages it has three persons: singular, dual and plural. One strange element is that only the feminine gender is found (with a few archaic terms in neuter).

This short poetic fragment is suggestive of ritual time in which the behaviour of dogs as the keepers of time is unsurprisingly given prominence. The only non-canine actor (the woman) is setting off on a pilgrimage of some sort (crunch time?)

The difficulty with the word reflected is, I surmise, due to the lack of smell in a reflection, so the reflection’s unreality is a conceptual lacuna. If the subject of the woman sentence had been a dog, the wide semantic arc would have extended to the word ‘smells’ as well as ‘sees’ and ‘follows’.

It is clear from the original sentence structure that what is before the snout is of prime importance. Furthermore, the moon, the dogs (three so far) and the woman are in some kind of triangulated relationship with the fish, the sea and the reflected moon. Perhaps one indicates the mundane world, while the other has esoteric meanings. The question is which is which?


This translation was produced while staying at Suzanne Bellamy’s Mongarlowe Studio in December 2011.




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