Word Painting

Here is a positively delicious adjective if you can find the right moment to use it:

evanescent (adj) – soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

I first came across this word in a poem by Australian poet A.B. (Banjo) Paterson, Sunrise on the Coast (it’s in the last stanza, but I thought you might like to read the whole thing since it’s only four stanzas long):

Grey dawn on the sandhills - the night wind has drifted
   All night from the rollers a scent of the sea;
With the dawn the grey fog his battalions has lifted,
   At the scent of the morning they scatter and flee.

Like mariners calling the roll of their number
   The sea fowl put out to the infinite deep.
And far overhead - sinking softly to slumber -
   Worn out by their watching, the stars fall asleep.

To eastward where resteth the dome of the skies on
   The sea line stirs softly the curtain of night;
And far from behind the enshrouded horizon
   Comes the voice of a God saying, "Let there be light."

An lo, there is light!  Evanescent and tender,
   It glows ruby-red where 'twas now ashen grey;
And purple and scarlet and gold in its splendour -
   Behold, 'tis that marvel, the birth of a day!


It’s not a word that you hear very much these days.  In fact, you could say the word itself is evanescent 🙂 .  Personally, having just had my mfphmwyth birthday (you didn’t really think I would tell you, did you?!) I have had occasion to contemplate my evanescent youth…  But I think it’s worth reviving, don’t you?  (The word, that is, but if you think my youth has a shot, go for it!)



About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Increase Your Vocabulary, Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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