Subtlety came to us from Latin
(by way of the clever French)
in that thin, gossamer term
subtilis, which in turn
is a web of under-stitched
subtext. What joe really gives

a flying doublefudge fuck
about lacy coy underwords?
Twixt the stark, sooty verbs
it's card tricks in a tar-dark hall,
earnest Kama Sutra recitations
to a rubber smutstore doll.

A horse is a horse unless she's
a Mississippi queen, an allegory
crawling from a swamp of contempt.
I metaphor lunch, but the queen
wouldn't listen, baffled by menus
plain as her face. Moot.
Mute. Mote. Moat.
The meanings collapse,
drown in that lazy river.
Undercurrents churn mud.

Sub"tle*ty (?), n.; pl. Subtleties (#). [OE. sotelte, sutilte, OF. sotillete, L. subtilitas. See Subtle, and cf. Subtility.]

1.

The quality or state of being subtle, or sly; cunning; craftiness; artfulness.

The fox which lives by subtlety. Shak.

2.

Nice discernment with delicacy of mental action; nicety of discrimination.

3.

Something that is sly, crafty, or delusive.

Unlearned in the world's false subtleties. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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