A delicate balance

"True strength is delicate." -- Louise Nevelson

“True strength is delicate.” — Louise Nevelson
Photo: Su Leslie 2013



1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way: a delicate flavor; a delicate violin passage.
2. Exquisitely fine or dainty: delicate china.
3. Frail in constitution or health.
4. Easily broken or damaged: a kite too delicate to fly.
5. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination: a critic’s delicate perception.
6.   a. Considerate of the feelings of others.

      b. Concerned with propriety.
      c. Squeamish or fastidious.
7. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation.
8. Fine or soft in touch or skill: a surgeon’s delicate touch.
9. Measuring, indicating, or responding to very small changes; precise: a delicate set of scales.
10. Very subtle in difference or distinction.
For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, we have hope.

For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, hope lives in my heart.
Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Rather like “eerie” which was the subject of yesterday’s post, delicate is a very nuanced word.

I’m a robust, and fairly buxom, woman (Reubens-esque on a good day) who has grown only gradually from feeling like a totally klutzy child into an adult  comfortable with, and able to celebrate, my body. I have dark eyes and (once upon a time) dark hair, and could not – under any circumstances – be described as delicate.

But delicate is a word used often to describe my gender; and in literature, art and popular culture, delicacy has been regarded (by men at any rate) as a desirable trait for women. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for my very ambivalent relationship with the word.

There are of course some images that ” delicate” connotes with which I am comfortable; pale, fragile blooms, handcrafted glass art – or a parent holding their newborn, muscles straining to achieve a gentleness perhaps unknown.

“The heart of a man’s like that delicate weed, Which requires to be trampled on, boldly indeed Ere it gives forth the fragrance you wish to extract” — Edward G. Bulwer’Lytton.

 This post is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme: http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/11/01/travel-theme-delicate/

Here are some other posts you may like:

Travel Theme: Delicate





Travel theme: Delicate




11-1-13 Travel Theme – Delicate

12 thoughts on “A delicate balance

  1. I see you have a photo of “silver dollars”…I just love them…the sound they make in the wind is also “delicate.”
    I like your choices…the newborn at the end is perfect!


    • Thanks. I’m not really familiar with “silver dollars” (I’m a bit of a botanical-dummy), but I found them growing outside a National Trust house in Twickenham, England and they just looked so lovely. I’m glad I know the name now. Cheers, Su. 🙂


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