Dive in, splash around, skim and dip and spout about the latest quotations, metaphors, words and, of course, triologisms. You’ll feel better for it!

A quote to note

Drawing on thousands of sparkling, moving and inspiring quotations amassed during decades of attentive reading. To delight your mind and spirit and improve your presentations beyond belief.

Use your imagination

Use your imagination

The path to hell, we've been told, is paved with good intentions. Faludy, a renowned poet and writer, is given an extracurricular task to add to his...

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War for kindness

War for kindness

Svetlana Alexievich's interviews with Russian people, first conducted after the fall of the Soviet Union, then again during the first decade of this...

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Oh, for dog’s sake!

Oh, for dog’s sake!

Listening time: 5 minutes. A touching account of mutual support and succour between labour camp prisoners and some of the camp dogs.  In this and...

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Which way the wind blows

Which way the wind blows

In totalitarian systems, there is no limit to the perversity and pettiness of mind which can land you in a prison or a labour camp. Here, during the...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

Flung into the fire

Flung into the fire

Saint-Exupéry, himself one of the fire-flung pilots of the French air force in the early, desperate days of the war, makes several damning...

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Rolling like …

Rolling like …

A stone?  A wheel?  No, Faludy goes one better, and I was lucky to find a roll-able coin stamped with the head of a king who lost his. ... and in...

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Invisible but potent

Invisible but potent

A person who seems to have been entirely congruent in his memories and his values, fully dissolved and present in the telling of his story.   When...

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Like pushing a pram

Like pushing a pram

A fine description of a protuberant belly.  I like the care with which the angry fat man moves it through a door.  Mr Remy belonged to the rare...

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Triologisms

Bringing you pithy, evocative imagery in the form of three-legged microcosms of meaning. Updated on Tuesdays … Tuesday, triologism day!  You’ll never see this day of the week in the same way again.

Liver-thick mud

Liver-thick mud

A touching recollection by Seamus Heaney of a moment decades before which wedded him to a particular landscape.  I like the description of gloppy...

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Light-drenched empyrean

Light-drenched empyrean

As I write this, we have been shrouded with a dense winter fog, and yet a sudden burst of sunshine is breaking through, and I am light-drenched -...

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Head-clearing airiness

Head-clearing airiness

A few draughts of head-clearing airiness are a great way to start the new year.  I also like Heaney's use of building similes in his response to...

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Hard-won ledge

Hard-won ledge

A sensitive commentary by Seamus Heaney on a poem by Sylvia Plath, 'Mussel Hunter at Rock Harbor'.  He describes: ... the drama of survival, the...

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Gun-blue swingle

Gun-blue swingle

This quite literally striking triologism is from a poem by Robert Lowell (1917-77), which I discovered in a commentary by Seamus Heaney on Lowell's...

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Rook-delighting heaven

Rook-delighting heaven

Yeats looks up and is thrown by the sight of a wintry sky, suddenly overcome by an inpouring rush of memory, emotion, awareness of life's vitality...

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Words

Sharing words that sparkle, appeal, intrigue or otherwise grab me, including in other languages. And adoring alliteration, words are added on Wednesdays… Wednesday, word day. See you back here then.

A deceit, a descent and a parliament

A deceit, a descent and a parliament

As you may know, I have a soft spot for imaginative collective nouns, and although I'd come across 'parliament' for owls, and love the whooshing...

Lauzengier

Lauzengier

Lauzengier (also 'lauzenger') appears in the songs of French troubadours.  An old Occitan word but surely one which it may be timely to pluck from...

Gulch it down

Gulch it down

Mervyn Peake uses Rabelaisian vocabulary to describe the gargantuan appetites and appearance of Swelter, the castle cook in his Gormenghast trilogy....

Mummarella

Mummarella

You would know the 'true' octopus if you saw it, wouldn't you? Reading a book about Mediterranean seafood, Luiz learned that according to an...

Ullage of sunflower

Ullage of sunflower

Something about this word that you can roll around the mouth like a good swig of wine or cognac, the removal of which would result in its ullage in...

Cragfast

Cragfast

Stuck?  In a tight corner?  No going forward ... or back?  Call yourself Cragfast. A sheep cornered on a crag, to starve in the absence of rescue....

I find it moving that no literary text is utterly original, no literary text is completely unique, that it stems from previous texts, built on quotations and misquotations, on the vocabularies fashioned by others and transformed through imagination and use.  Writers must find consolation in the fact that there is no very first story and no last one.  Our literature reaches further back than the beginnings of our memory permits us, and further into the future than our imagination allows us to conceive, but that must be the only barrier.  

Source: Alberto Manguel, The City of Words, CBC Massey Lecture Series (Toronto: Anansi Press, 2007), p. 139

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