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The bark and the tree - expression

Jon W. 29 Jun 99 - 04:39 PM
Allan C. 29 Jun 99 - 04:54 PM
Allan C. 29 Jun 99 - 05:01 PM
gargoyle 29 Jun 99 - 05:08 PM
Allan C. 30 Jun 99 - 07:42 AM
Roger in Baltimore 30 Jun 99 - 08:01 AM
Allan C. 30 Jun 99 - 08:12 AM
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Subject: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Jon W.
Date: 29 Jun 99 - 04:39 PM

There is a line in a song by Triona Ni Dhombnaill (sp?) that goes "Just as the bark is strong, and welded to the tree/Closer we grow each day..." I have also heard a song by Altan that uses a similar metaphor for lovers. Lastly, I just read "between the bark and the tree" as a metaphor (or is it a simile?) of being in a tight spot, attributed a former Cajun Louisiana congressman, Ed Willis. Can anyone share other trad lyrics, folk stories or anything else that will shed light on this expression and its origins?


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Jun 99 - 04:54 PM

Having peeled my share of fence posts, I have a real appreciation for how tightly attached or "welded" it can get. I see it as a rather straightforward metaphor. The bark is the protector of the tree. It covers it and keeps it from harm. The rest of the tree provides sustenance to the bark. Thus both are kept alive by way of the existence of the other.


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Allan C.
Date: 29 Jun 99 - 05:01 PM

The second paragraph of the previous posting got lost somehow:

The other metaphor confuses me a bit. The cambium layer, which lies between the outer bark and the rest of the tree supplies the "life's blood" to the tree. I will consult a couple of pretty good resource books I have to see if I can find an explanation which fits the context you cite.


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 99 - 05:08 PM

If the expression states things are similar using "like" or "as" then: it is a similie.
If the expression does not use them, i.e. says something "is" something else then it is a metaphor.
If the expression compares i.e. says something is to something else, as so and so, is to such and such, then: it is an analogy.
An extended (long) metaphor is an allegory.


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Allan C.
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 07:42 AM

Gargoyle, you are absolutely correct. I think I my brain must have switched into "standby". Thanks for setting me straight.

Jon W., I came up empty after searching my resources. However it was not for nothing. I learned that "barking at a knot" is a cowman's way of referring to the impossible.

Some further thought came up with the notion that the " former Cajun Louisiana congressman"'s expression may have been more figurative than it would first appear. If one were a raccoon which had been tree'd by a pack of dogs, one might be said to be between the bark(s) and the tree. That would be a tight situation to be in.


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 08:01 AM

It seems to me that there is little space between the bark and the tree and so it is a tight spot.

Allan C., I think you're "barking up the wrong tree" with your explanation. When I saw the thread title I thought that was the phrase the poster was going to ask about. That comes from dogs chasing racoons for sure.

Big RiB


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Subject: RE: The bark and the tree - expression
From: Allan C.
Date: 30 Jun 99 - 08:12 AM

Gosh, Roger, you take all the fun out of it when you point out the obvious (and probably most accurate) answer;-)


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