Home > Change and Continuity > Deliquesce


October 11, 2005

In time I will soften

like old mushrooms –


cell by cell

plexus defenseless

bulwarks dissolved

into moat. I will

not will, won’t

quarrel with the moon

nor damn the tides.

I’ll acquiesce –

unmasked essence

afloat and rudderless.

Let the meltoff decide

on whose sands I maroon

or drift on alone

and after, evanesce.


Author’s note: deliquesce was the Word of the Day on September 20,
.Written by Leslee, of Third House Journal.


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  1. October 11, 2005 at 10:43 pm

    Wonderful theme and wonderful words that slip off the tongue! Thank you Leslee.

    Yes, this “happening” of a blog is really powerful and quite exciting to watch unfold. Congratulations to the founders!

  2. October 12, 2005 at 8:29 am

    Beautiful, Leslee. I love “bulwarks dissolved/ into moat.”

    In its spareness it reminds me of one of my very favorite poems: Kay Ryan’s Blandeur, online here: http://www.nea.gov/features/Writers/ryan.html

  3. October 12, 2005 at 8:51 am

    Hey, Kay Ryan is a great poet to be compared with! So subtle & intellectual & full of word-play.

    I liked all those s-sounds, the soft hiss of cells dancing apart. When Leslee sent this poem in, I was forced to re-think my knee-jerk opposition to Latinate nouns. (But if a poem doesn’t make you re-examine your priorities, what the hell good is it?)

  4. October 12, 2005 at 10:49 am

    Lovely. The very sounds in this poem deliquesce, sliding off the ends of the lines in little eddies. They contrast with the second sentence full of hard consonants of resistance. Nicely done.

  5. October 12, 2005 at 10:51 am

    I really like the idea of using the Word of the Day calendar this way, sort of a little assignment to write a poem using whatever word it happens to be. Do you do this every day, or did this one just inspire you? (It is a delicious word.)

    Imagine how delightfully random would be the collection of 365 poems you’d have after a year of this. Fun.

    BTW, I love the mushroom imagery. :)

  6. October 12, 2005 at 12:09 pm

    Sleek, elegant and wise, Leslee. Do you really write a poem about the word of the day every day, or just the ones that strike you?

  7. October 12, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    Marja-Leena: Thanks! It is finally “a happening” isn’t it?

    Rachel: Thank you – and thanks for the link. I wasn’t familiar with Kay Ryan – I bookmarked it and will look into more of her work. I do like the spareness.

    Dave: I don’t even know what Latinate nouns are! But this is certainly more verbal than visual/concrete. It just seemed to flow that way once I started with the word, deliquesce.

    Moose: Glad you liked it. And I like the way you put it, the sounds “sliding off the ends of the lines in little eddies.” I did picture a river.

    Sara and Patry: This is the first time I’ve used a Word of the Day in a poem. I just loved the word deliquesce and knew I wanted to use it. There’s something almost onomatopoetic about it, the way it slides into liquid at the end. It made me think of delicious, and one of the definitions was “To become fluid or soft with age, as certain fungi” so the mushroom idea got it all started. It would be an interesting idea to try a poem each day, but I don’t think I’d have the time or energy! (Dave?) Today’s word, by the way, is “gewgaw” – anybody??

  8. October 12, 2005 at 2:45 pm

    I live in a land
    secured by the blunderbuss,
    now rife with tchotchkerias,
    purveyors of gewgaws, doodads,
    and ever-popular whirligigs.

    I used to think it was all for the tourists,
    but it’s not.

    On many local lawns,
    jigsaw tomfoolery
    and bright synthetic streamers
    keep “Mary on the Half Shell”
    and Pedro the plaster burro
    (with faded plastic flowers in his cart)
    company through bleak white seasons
    and desperate grey rains.

    There, you happy? Oh, and I also love that you started with “deliquesce” and ended with “evanesce.”

  9. October 12, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Gewgaw didn’t appeal to me at all, but you made it work, Sara!

  10. October 12, 2005 at 4:14 pm

    A little doggerel toast to Leslee and Sara:
    I’m in awe of your ability to draw
    A random word like a short straw
    (Something I might only think to gnaw)
    And, without discernible flaw,
    Leaving just the right emotions raw,
    Clean and right as natural law,
    Breathe life into a glossarial gewgaw.

  11. October 12, 2005 at 4:23 pm

    Geez, you guys are *fast*! Maybe both of you should do the 365 word of the day poems a year!

  12. October 12, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    Done. Go here:

    Poem of the Day (http://movingrightalong.typepad.com/poem_of_the_day/)

    Now, I think it will be much more fun if others have the opportunity to join the madness, so I have made it as close to an open forum as this blog format will allow. I hope lots and lots of people play.

    Thanks for a great idea! (And thank you, Moose, for a cute poem! I’m always impressed when people can make things rhyme. This facility rarely enters my own skillset.)


  13. October 12, 2005 at 8:16 pm
  14. October 14, 2005 at 5:08 pm

    leslee, that was lovely! your assonance and dissonance are wonderful…

  15. October 14, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    These three lines took me so many places at one:

    bulwarks dissolved
    into moat. I will
    not will, won’t

    And those five elegant words with the q’s and/or ce’s in them that to me belie and frame the reality as much as the music in “My Papa’s Waltz” or the civility in Alice Walker’s “Good Night, Willie Lee”. . .

    Thank you, Leslee!

  16. October 15, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Leslee, I’ve liked this poem even more every time I’ve read it. Thank you!

  17. October 16, 2005 at 7:46 am

    Wow, thank you all. Karen, nice to hear from you and I’m grateful for your comments. Peter, thanks for the poetry references – I found the Roethke (lovely and very musical), but I don’t know Alice Walker’s poems – I’ll check them out. And Beth – thank you, and I hope you’re healing well.

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