Gleam-footed horse

Gleam-footed horse

You can see the gleam of its hooves, as I once saw in a perfectly preened and prepared pedigree horse whose hooves had been polished with oil.  But its hoof-gleam is the least of it, this glorious creature speaks, having had a voice put in him by the preeminent...
Tussock-lined tract

Tussock-lined tract

What formerly passed for a lawn in our garden is now becoming a wild meadow, notwithstanding its random colonization by tough tussocks. Recently learned that the word ‘hassock’ can also mean ‘tussock’ in Scottish or Northern English. ‘A...
Wedge-headed man

Wedge-headed man

Trying to imagine the angle of the wedge!  Was it a heavy-jawed man with a pointed head, or one with a wide forehead and a pointed chin, or something all together more surprising? And always intrigued by people who can engage in abstract language at dizzy levels of...
Wave-girt land

Wave-girt land

A little old-fashioned, this ‘girt’, but still an unexpected way to speak of an island, focusing more on its surrounding sea than its sea-proud land. ‘A splendid midsummer shone over England: skies so pure, suns so radiant as were then seen in long...
Ever-present goodness

Ever-present goodness

Sir Philip Sidney suggests that poetry can ease the pain of our ‘death-dealing sins’ by providing the consolation of ‘never-leaving goodness’, which I’ve chosen to call ‘ever-present’. In any case, it can provide us with...
Wonder-working knowledge

Wonder-working knowledge

An inspiring description of mathematics – I actually had a maths teacher who managed to make us feel about it that way. Sadly, she was followed by one who killed any wonder in it. What would be your definition of a ‘wonder-working knowledge’?...
Worm-channered posts

Worm-channered posts

This suggests woodworm tunneled posts and I imagine that ‘channered’ refers to the tiny channels they carve on the surface of it. This possible channel-like definition is further reinforced by another example in the same book: ‘The trickles in the...
Gold-ringed eyes

Gold-ringed eyes

Jane Eyre’s curious aquiline simile to describe the blinded eyes of the man she loves. ‘The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty has extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson.’    Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre...
An opiate vista

An opiate vista

A curious vista of ‘tallow-coloured’ images floating before an opium-steeped lord. ‘Laudanum’ was the name for various opium-based preparations and now refers to an alcoholic tincture of the same drug.  ‘Chloral’, of apparently...
Scum-skinned tide

Scum-skinned tide

Something alarmingly contemporary about this polluted surface in Dante’s Inferno, especially when he discerns, through the miasma, dead souls fleeing.   “Now train your gaze across that scum-skinned tide,” He said to me as he set my eyes free,...
Sweet-garlanded lady

Sweet-garlanded lady

None other than Artemis, or Diana, Apollo’s twin, and goddess of wild animals and hunting. Struck by Ever Angry Hera (or Juno), my least liked goddess, and a handful even for omnipotent Zeus.   ‘Artemis sweet-garlanded lady of clamours answered him:...
Outlandish-looking grammar

Outlandish-looking grammar

Although I’ve managed to master a couple of foreign languages, outlandish-looking grammar has so far stymied my repeated, and repeatedly failed, attempts to learn German beyond anything but the most passive reading capability.Here, a highly dutiful,...
Heron-like paces

Heron-like paces

I love the idea of a human walk embodying the fastidious strut of the heron’s dainty stride. ‘He strode to the wooden shutters with long, slow heron-like paces, and the dust rose behind him.’  See another heron simile, by the poet Kevin...
Lime-green river

Lime-green river

In the context of Gormenghast, this intriguing river colour would unlikely be a sign of toxic effluent or bloom, so it struck me, along with the prediction of inheritance fishing. ‘The lime-green river where twelve years later he would be angling for the hideous...

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