Words: shiver, v. and n.

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The Independent Culture
THE POET James Dickey, whose novel Deliverance became a movie, knew the effect of a single word. "My whole existence has proceeded from one word in a poem, which I read in an anthology on Okinawa during the last weeks of the second war."

The poem was "Live Blindly and Upon the Hour" by Trumbull Stickney. "Thou art divine, thou livest, - as of old / Apollo springing naked to the light, / And all his island shivered into flowers." This is pleasingly ambiguous. Shiver (from Middle English scifre) is to split - as in the naval phrase "shiver my timbers" and Shakespeare's "thou'd'st shiver'd like an egg" - or to tremble with cold, which, of uncertain origin, is perhaps from Middle English cheovele, to wag the jaw, as is chavel, to mumble food.

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