Sonic Screwdrivers

Sonic Screwdrivers

The English tongue is a toolkit
To unlock those very English sounds
In a well-oiled perfect fit.
The Scots and Welsh have tongues that sit
At a slightly diff’rent angle each
So’s not to mangle all those subtle bits of brogue
That abound within their speech.
Americans are yet more rogue,
Dismissing our metric metre
For their own iambic feet and inches –
They prefer their rhotic burr to ring,
With a tongue that sounds the sweeter
And a throat that swells and pinches
Fine enough to let it sing.
But none of we Anglophones are great
At sounding French, or Japanese –
We haven’t the tools we need for these.
And that’s okay – we still can try,
And even if we’re second-rate,
There’s no need to be shy.
The thing is, no two individual tongues
Are contoured quite the same
They vary how they’re ribbed and strung,
And where they set their aim.
So if we were to slur your foreign name next time we call,
It’s just because our tongues are curled the other way, that’s all.

A Qroq of Qraiq

A Qroq of Qraiq

Q’s without U’s,
You’re not fooling me –
You’re out to confuse
With your Q’s floating free.
But I know you’re trick –
You’re just swirly K’s,
With a kick and a click
To anchor a phrase.
Yet sometimes in French
At the end of a word,
A Q is what’s mentioned,
But K is what’s heard.
And Arabic full of ’em,
Inuit too,
With gutter and phlegm
To push the sound through –
Less plosive, more fricative,
That’s what it’s telling –
It’s purely indicative,
Snobbish in spelling –
For only a Scot could
Hope to pronounce it –
No Sassenach should,
They’ll mangle and trounce it.

Mockingbirds

Mockingbirds

OO is for Curloo,
U is for Duv,
O is for Swollo and Swon, my love.
M is for Emerald –
Pretty enough.
F is for Fessant and also for Chuff.
N is for Natcatcher,
K is for Kwail,
J is for Pijjon who’s bringing the mail.
I is for Ider,
R is for Ren,
T is for Tarmigan – ta-ta, my hen.

West Country R.P.

Francis Drake by William Holl (?), Thomas Hardy by William Strang and Arthur C Clarke by Donato Giancola

West Country R.P.

Ev’ry -ing is singing,
And ev’ry plosive plodes,
Arrs are round and rhotic –
But not to overload.
Vowels are never clipped
And haitches never drop –
Ays are broad and classy,
And glottals never stop.

The First Emoji

The First Emoji

Exclamations !
Provocations !
Explanations of excitations !
Some would say they’re overused,
I disagree.
Some I note refuse of late
To punctuate their poetry –
Not me !

Word elations !
Ejaculations !
Indications of stimulations !
The Spanish use them twice as much
¡ Caramba !
But are they just a crutch, dead weight ?
Let context state the mood and timbre –
Let our poems dance the samba…

Celebrations.
Expectations.
Declarations without notations.
They feel as if they’re lacking, now…
Too calm and bland.
They need to somehow demonstrate
The extra fate at their command,
And make a stand !

Catphrases

Catphrases

Yes, I remember Egbie Corner,
A girl who made a strange kind of sense –
Let me tell you, before oldtimers’
Robs me of my stream of conscience.

I hope my memories will pass mustard
And wet your appetite for more,
And not be spinning an old wise tale
That’s just a damp squid of a prize pub boar.

But way back in the mist of things,
When we never knew what’d come down the pipe,
We were biting our time on tenderhooks
In a doggie-dog world that was oven-ripe.

My hormones back then were rabbits in head-lice,
Rebel-roused by mixing-my-toadstools fever,
When news of Egbie spread like wildflowers –
And I had to meet her to disbelieve her.

Cos she wouldn’t be taken for granite,
She was no social leopard or escape goat –
Yet to all intensive purposes,
She squeezed-out logical sound from my throat.

It wasn’t as if she were scandally clad,
But she stripped my tongue to its birthday suit
The response she’d illicit was hardly her fault –
But given her affect, the point is mute.

She had free range with her daring-do,
Which left me boggled-down and run through the mangle.
But cutting to the cheese – on the spurt of the moment
That night we learned it takes two to tangle.

Who’da Thunk It ?

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Who’da Thunk It ?

Verbs in English are really German
In how they like to behave –
Especially when irregular,
Which helps explain how give gives gave.
So when a Norman interloper
Such as catch is gadding about
Well, either its past sees it catched up in logic,
Or its sneaky imitation has caught us out.
The way they are is how they evolved,
And they’re simply something that must be learned.
Yet even today, the strong turn weak,
As learnt is ousted by the friendlier learned.
Snuck may have sneaked in recently,
But verbs have become less fraught –
Where once they flied-out and grandstood, now
Their work’s less overwrought.

Latin Plurals

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Latin Plurals

Once we had foci, but now we have focuses.
English loves plurals that all end in esses.
Now, fungi and cacti are still in transition,
Though not hard to see how conformity presses –
The stylus of changes points only one way,
From styli to styluses – esses must play !
Vortexes sweep aside vortices yearly,
(Though axis-es point to a step-too-far, clearly,
And hippos and rhinos are horrible messes
If pluraled-in-full with their too-many esses.
(And okay, they’re Greek, with their own rules for doubling –
But that’s just the point, it’s just not worth the troubling !)
Now look out for medias, datas and dices
For surely the way of agendas entices,
And singular specie and crisie are coming –
So sneer all you like about downing and dumbing,
But language is fluid, and speakers make guesses,
And boy !, our collective subconscious loves esses !
From alg-ay to alg-ee to al-jee to al-jees
We’ll pluralise words as we jolly well please !

Future Habitual

Future Habitual

At some point in the future,
I would have laboured ev’ry day –
I would have gone to work and back,
Is what I would will say.
But further in the future,
I would have been retired by then
(But not yet will have go to God),
And I can would be looking back
And I will wondered yet agen
At how such phrases once will sounded odd.

The Future Habitual aspect is a clause of speech that linguists insist does not exist.