1] The (Turks and) Caicos Islands, thirty in number, southeast of the Bahamas, are a British colony. Their capital is Cockburn Town on Grand Turk Island. An early island industry was the harvesting of salt. The Islands have large mangrove swamps and suffer frequent hurricanes from June to November, but government projects have controlled mosquito breeding and thus the diseases they carry, especially dengue fever as borne by Aedes aegypti. The Islands are now a popular and, generally, safe tourist destination.
3] Charybdis: a treacherous whirlpool in the straits of Messina, off Sicily, that -- with Scylla, a cave opposite it -- brought many sailors to their deaths in classical myth.
4] ephemeral: of diseases, beginning and ending in a single day.
culicidal: characterizing substances that kill mosquitoes. The culicidæ are a family of mosquitoes treated in "The Economics of Malaria" in Brooke's Practice (1920).
chiggeral: characterized by harvest mites or chiggers (evidently, an adjective coined by Brooke).
6] odoriferous: smelly.
7] sand-fly: small blood-sucking fly that transmits an acute viral fever to those it bites.
genus anopheles: a mosquito that carries malaria, a disease of periodical fevers.
9] Walterian: related to the studies of Dr. Walter Reed, who proved that yellow fever was spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. The US military funded Dr. Reed's research in Cuba at the time of the Spanish-American war (1898).
12] foetid: stinking.
mephitical: pestilential, characterized by "mephitis" or stench.
13] Avernian: hellish.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Gilbert E. Brooke, Oddments: Being Extracts from a Scrap-book (Singapore: Kelly and Walsh, 1922): 17. British Library 012273.aaa.73
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/13
Form note: irregularly rhyming
Other poems by Gilbert E. Brooke