"blasted bush"


France / French
Hello to you all,

I'm currently translating a text from W. S. Merwin in which he describes a stuffed bird as "toppling forward from one branch of a generic blasted bush." I don't understand what the "blasted bush" part refers to. Is it an image? Is it abstract? I thought it was referring to a branch being literaly taken off a bush by a blast of wind until I heard a comedian use the phrase "a blasted bushful of birds." It's got me all the more puzzled. I understand there is the expression "a bushful of birds," but does it mean that a "blasted bush" is a specific image a native speaker would understand as such?
Is anyone able or willing to offer explanation and help?

Thanks in advance,
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Not a bush specifically. The natural association for an English speaker is a blasted heath, the location where Macbeth met the witches. 'Blasted' here means "withered, devastated" and can apply to trees - I think of those that are standing up dead and leafless, twisted by the wind; and this is how I'd understand 'blasted bush'.

    Separately, 'blasted' is a euphemism adjective for something that's a nuisance - like "damned, bloody, wretched". This is probably the comedian's but not Merwin's meaning.


    Senior Member
    English - American
    He is describing a particularly ugly piece of taxidermy: "a stuffed bird, badly positioned, on an array of sticks and branches that looks like a ruined bush". By "generic" he implies that a lot of taxidermists offer the same sort of ugly collection of twigs and branches.

    I think the comedian was using blasted in the second sense, mentioned by ETB.
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