language

The Day We Argued About Roman Numerals

Of that day when we argued,
my memory is VIVID;
I, for one, remained CIVIL
but you ended up LIVID.

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Com  ppance

Things work both ways, of course.
And so the EU left our language,
waited not for any half-mumbled    logy,
bade no adi   .
And the   rosceptics,
felt no    phoria,
outmano   vred as they were.

Words found themselves misconstrued.
There were bitter f  ds
raised fists, Fr  dian slips,
few remained n   tral.
Unemployment rose –
amongst mass   rs, chauff  rs, n   roscientists –
and mus  ms closed.

The country got roomier
and rh   mier,
a mausol  m to memories of imperial grand   r,
mixing racial slurs
with a sip from a glass of Pimms
and a snip of secat   rs.

Alone Together

Alone together, for once,
I told her how I thought that –
in my unbiased opinion –
the incidence of oxymorons
in the English language
had been growing smaller.
That’s old news, she said,
adding that it had been the case
for almost exactly ten years.
Things got pretty ugly.
But this, in itself,
felt strangely normal;
for ours was
a bittersweet relationship,
a civil war
of violent agreements.
I found myself annoyingly
endeared to her
whilst she thought
my puritanical streak
seriously funny.
Our contradictions
complemented each other
perfectly.
Same difference,
I whispered loudly,
but she, with a sad smile,
after telling me how
I’d left her speechless,
went back to reading
her textbook
on business ethics.

Best seen, not heard

Writing poems which rhyme can be tricky and tough
for words often look like they’re from the same bough,
yet the end of each line sounds quite different, though,
and best hidden behind a hiccough or cough.

I wonder, did this bother Byron or Yeats?
Or Larkin or Wordsworth, Auden or Keats?
Were opportunities presented or simply just threats?
Could they think up their rhymes without caveats?

But what should it matter when all’s said and done
if you should read this as scone when I meant scone?
It’s hardly a crime for which you need to atone;
it would all be baloney to an abalone.

So perhaps I should not be quite so afeard.
Some poems are best seen rather than heard.