ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,

debitage, subsultive

debitage (DEB-i-Targe), noun.
An archaeological term for the waste flakes and small chips produced when knapping a stone implement.  You might find debitage in a midden (a "concentration of cultural debris").  The Penguin Archaeology Guide says "Some waste flakes, such as Paleolithic biface trimming flakes or Mesolithic tranchet axe sharpening flakes, have a characteristic appearance and indicate the tools that were made or sharpened at a site even when the tools themselves are absent."
Etymology:  I'm not sure, but I'd guess a variant of (Old French) debit (in the same way 'spillage' is a variant of 'spill')
subsultive (sub SUL tiv), adjective.
Characterized by sudden leaps or starts; jerky, convulsive; subsultory.
In my 1964 World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, the preferred word seems to be 'subsultive',
but in more recent dictionaries it looks like this is replaced by 'subsultory'.
Etymology:  Latin; from subsultus, the past participle of subsilire, "leap up"

As was perhaps inevitable, this week's poem has a New Year's theme.


Drink in hand,
I puzzle on this year's midden:
What happened here?
I sift through the debitage of knife-sharp days,
Marking memories of stony paths,
Good days,
And trying days.
I stumble toward subsultive resolutions,
Knee-jerk, ragged reactions to life's latest advice,
Seeking shiny clues in the rough debris,
The bright spurs of unknown days
To kick me onward
To new gravel, new trails, and new words.
Tags: d, french, latin, s, theme: poems, wordsmith: ersatz_read

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