INTERVAL THREE: Words, Words, Words

 

Cherub wit paper  labelled 'Words' words

Steven Clayman: What You Are Reading

“What are you reading?”
Queried dear Ruth.
“Words,” I replied, with
Whimsical couth,
Thus backing quite blindly
Into a truth.

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Robin Helweg-Larsen: The Logophile Picks a Fight

By the spots of shame with which your life is spattered
Your position, sir, is greatly overmattered,
Overmattered, sir, or greatly undermined;
And I cannot help but find
That the lot of humankind
Would be bettered, not embittered, were you battered.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant: Words . . .

Shimmying shadows that haunt my periphery,
Magical mysteries of darkness and light,
Hexes of truth with slick mixes of trickery
Conjuring sunsets and fairies in flight;

Weaving their webs with wild wonder and wizardry,
Lacing the air with their daring new finds,
Seizing stone hearts with their syrupy alchemy,
Breezing through brains as they spellbind our minds;

Tweeting through cities unleashing commotions,
Greeting keen ears on the rush of night’s breath,
Dipping dull dreams in delectable notions,
Slipping from lips with grim whispers of death;

Chatty then silent – they’re fickle and know it,
Muting the muse as pens poise to compose,
Guiding then gagging each impatient poet,
Gushing then hushing – art comes and then goes;

Blessed with their essence, I sift them and sort them,
Twist them and tweak them till ripe for the spill;
Capture their rapture and hone them till golden
With lonely-cloud prowess and daffodil-thrill.

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 Julia Griffin :Nude

O what a nasty word is “nude”!
Besides the rhyme with “lewd” and “prude”,
It starts with gn, a sound to make
The tongue curl up, the palette ache,
The nose convulse, the nostrils flare,
With lips pulled back, and teeth laid bare,
The chin thrust forth in rigid sneer,
Each cheek puffed up against each ear,
And all the features proud and rude:
Appropriate for saying “gnnude”.

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Jerome Betts: Collocational Conundrum

At night, when wits grow weak and wandery,
I think about such words as quandary
And ask myself, as Big Ben bongs,
Dilemma? Horns! And quandary . . . Prongs?

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Michael Swan: Lecture Notes

The words chug along
one after another.
There are first-class words
and second-class words.
They are all clean and comfortable.
Sometimes they stop
and an idea gets in or out.
But not very often. Indigo Bunting (All blue)

 Beverly Stock: Four Letter Words

Four-letter words are nearly always profane,
Even said by nice folks, they’re a raucous refrain.

To a sportsman, a golfer, over par in a game,
Both G-O-L-F and H-E-L-L are exactly the same.

My own four letter words, I say with disgust?
C-o-o-k, W-a-s-h, I-r-o-n, and of course D-u-s-t!

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Steven Clayman : Ode to the Neologism

Praise the bold neologism
Laud the well-coined phrase,
Font of ingenuitism
Then and nowadays.

Spurn the would-be avant-garde,
The let’s-just-shock-and-shake ’em.
If words would be your calling card,
The trenchant lie in your backyard,
But buried, so the finding’s hard –
Fear not, just up and make ’em.

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Jerome Betts: Spooner In The Works

'One wonders whether the post code is really necessary. We.
have fifty houses all told, and four different post codes.' - Letter.

If you are prone to transpose whole words,
    not merely the initial consonants, as that late
    Warden of New College Oxford they say did,
Your correspondence tended to get there with
    the pages yellow and the ink irretrievably faded.
With Downing Street London things were almost
    too easy to mention;
Even the least patient of sorters would rectify slips
    ike London Street Downing without overmuch
    brow-furrowing, friction or tension,
The idea of London without Downing Street, or
    Downing Street without London, being nugatory,
    not to say risible,
They are visibly indivisible.
But at Colchester Road Leicester things were
    stickier, with only the absence of Essex
    in the address to hint at a clarification
To those who dispatched what you’d posted on its
    cross-country peregrination.
Which is as nothing to what happened at, say,
    Huddersfield Road Halifax, a combination
    calculated to shunt the ingenuity of the most
    ingenious into a mental siding,
Since both these former centres of weighty or
    woolly industry are in the same former riding.
So, plaudits for the post codes, because
    by the time your topical offering had found
    its way back to you from Huddersfield, and
    then on again to Halifax, it may not have been
    technically a dead letter –
But it was hardly a red letter. 

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Terese Coe: Punktuation Redux

Quotation marks go back
A dollar sign may steal
Question marks bring flak
The backspace says Get real.

Percentage signs are oblivious
to those who are unemployed,
The wavy dash is frivolous,
and a slash may mean you’re Void.

Parentheses whisper Skip me
A period says I’m done!
Commas: Could you unzip me?
And dashes think they’re fun.

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Michael Swan: Annual Conference

Words pour out
bounce off the front row
swirl round the lamps
eddy in the corners
drift down, end up
in heaps on the floor.
In the evening
the cleaners sweep them up
and load them
into the recycling bins
ready for next year.

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D. A. Prince :The New Verb Form

I e-saw Susan yesterday;
how good to e-meet via Zoom.
E-gossiped for a bit, and then
a chance to e-glance round her room.
E-nosying is now the norm,
e-dropping by; so we adjust
our walls to e-reflect us best.
(Before our next I must e-dust.)

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L. A Mereoie: Canine Express

A whippet, hair of modish grey,
Now carries local letters round.
These come addressed the usual way
But with two extra words: By hound.

Grey blue whippet looking straight into cmera and wearing a dark-blue jacket with legs