Tag Archives: word tasting notes

chirapsia

Another poem for you. Today’s word is chirapsia, which means ‘manual friction’ or ‘massage’; it comes from Greek χειραψία, which could mean ‘gentle friction’ or ‘hand-to-hand combat’ (!), from χείρ kheir ‘hand’ and ἅπτω hapto ‘I touch’.

Whose hands, whose talons
seize my small fond cares,
pull at knots I’ve nicely tied,
tear the guts of my favourite stress?
What raptor takes me face down
and makes me face down
days of clenching and joy,
shrugs and spindled ecstasy?
In your chirapsia’s rhapsody,
have care of my rapt back,
bare arms, uprooted fingers;
soak my aches in your hands,
fit me to fight relaxation again.

Quasimodo

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di sole:
ed è subito sera.
—Salvatore Quasimodo

Everyone is alone on the heart of the earth
transfixed by a ray of sun:
and it is suddenly evening.

Does the poet’s name ring a bell? Everyone who sees Quasimodo thinks first of a hunchback. Well, not everyone. Some think first of a poet. Some think first of the Sunday after Easter. Some, perhaps, think first of truth, and of love. Continue reading

ranticle

The other day, while playing Scrabble, I saw that I could play the word RANTICLE… if only it were a word. Well, I want it to be a word. And obviously it’s a canticle that’s a rant, or a rant that’s a canticle. Or maybe it’s just a little rant. Whatever. Here is a ranticle for you! (Click on the audio above to hear me sing it.)

Here’s to the people you see every day
Who stop on the sidewalk, ignoring the fray,
In ones, twos, and sixes, and get in the way:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the chuckers of trash on the street,
Of wrappers and cigarettes under your feet,
Who think it’s for others to keep the world neat:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the grammar creeps stuck on correct
Who pounce on each error they chance to detect
But treat fellow humans with zero respect:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the journalists, eager for story,
Who haunt the bereaved any time it turns gory,
And zoom in on tears of the upset and sorry:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the drivers, lead foot on the gas,
Who hang on your bumper, so eager to pass
That if you slowed down they’d ram right up your… tailpipe:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the whiners who always protest
When some inequality might be redressed
And by “common sense” mean they get to be best:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the thoughtless, whatever their station,
In things of the neighbourhood and of the nation,
Who can’t spare two seconds for consideration:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

imminent, immanent

You really want to listen to this one:

Here’s a manic mnemonic for imminent versus immanent: Continue reading

forelsket

“Forelsket” by Ele Davis

I can’t help falling in love. With words. With art. With artful words. With wordful art. So, with Ele Davis’s permission, I’m sharing with you one more of her paintings and word choices that I saw at The Gentry in Cochrane. It is a particularly enamored, smitten word, and a subject painted lovingly, with all the red and blue shades of the heart. All of which says forelsket. Continue reading

solivagant

“Solivagant” by Ele Davis

Do you go alone? Do you step out the door – of your home, your hotel, your hostel, your hospital – driven by some vague motive, and put foot ahead of foot, seeing the street or the trail stretch ahead of you, the buildings or trees bleeding past in perspective, wanting to move and keep moving, to be the river through life? To see people and other creatures and walk through the waves of their breath and feel the hum of their bodies and minds as they move past? To wonder as you wander out under the sky? Are you thirsty for everything and nothing to be significant? Are you solivagant? Continue reading

illecebrous

Illecebrous, a head-and-shoulders painting of a woman on a multicoloured striped background

“Illecebrous” by Ele Davis

Beauty is useful but not necessary for a good artistic effect. There are many works of art that are beautiful, of course, but there are others that are not. What they all have in common, if they are effective, is that they make us stop and look, and look again: they draw us in, entice us to explore further, to see how deep our minds can get into them. It is like a glass of a well-made wine, or an interesting look on a person’s face, or a word that just charms us: there is more, and more, and more, and we follow it as it lures us onward.

Effective art, in short, is illecebrous. Continue reading