Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The English Sea

The nice folks at the Roseville, California public libraries have inexplicably asked me to host the kick-off event for their 23rd annual Youth Poetry Contest. Apparently, they consider my children’s book, My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, to be full of children’s poetry. I just thought it was full of rhymes, but who am I to argue? After all, they are the professionals here. They are even billing me as, “local poet, Marc Schmatjen.” Who woulda’ thought, huh?

Thankfully, they were wise enough not to ask me to judge the event. I will simply be in charge of leading a large group of young children through some rhyming exercises and teaching them about the different kinds of poems. I figured that I could pull it off with a little luck and a lot of ad-libbing, so I accepted the job.

In honor of the event this Saturday, I thought I would try my hand at some poetry. We’re going off the reservation a little this week, but I don’t want you to worry. I doubt that this will be a permanent thing!

“The English Sea” – A Poem of Sorts

Here in the English Sea, it is tough to grammatically wade.
When you hear English, you see, context must be weighed.

Sounding out a word ewe herd? There may be many ways, not just one.
Four instants, there are three ways to spell too, and two ways to spell won.

Consider this:

A bird with the flu, flew up our flue,
But our brand new gnu knew what to do.

You’ll want to cry foul, but alas, my poor dear,
It’s just a wayward ailing fowl and an African deer.

The sentence is sound, it’s grammatically right,
Although its content isn’t something I’d write.

The words all disagree when eyed on the page or the pane,
But they are pronounced with true sameness. I’d call that a pain.

They have a real name: Homophones, don’t you know.
Do they make the English language neat and tidy? No, no, no!

To know your way through them, you need lots of know-how.
Are they easy and intuitive? No way, no how!

Some of them can serve to make sentences sweet.
To hold up your whole body is a feat of your feet.
And the presence of presents makes your birthday neat.

Some of them serve to make sentences insane.
If he rode down the road, you’d see him holding a rein,
But if he rowed down the road, then you’ve had too much rain.

But most of them serve to make you feel like you’re losing.
They’re right there, but they’ve left their chairs there. Is that amusing?
It is certainly not. That’s just downright confusing.

Dew knot give up yet. Try this little tail:

The heir to the throne was thrown through the air.
He gave his horse too much rein and regretted his err.
He ended up in the mud on his derriere.
But the err the heir dared was minor, he swore.
A riding faux pas in the rain, and a seat that was sore.
He knew an err in the reign could cost so much more.
It wasn’t so bad to be thrown from one’s steed,
The heir and his father, the king, both agreed.
To be thrown from the throne would be much worse, indeed.

Sea, now that wasn’t sew bad.

In order for your assistants to kindly deliver your correspondence on your stationery,
It would be of great assistance if your correspondents would kindly remain stationary.

On second thought, theirs no hope too bee had.

It doesn’t make sense, it’s hard not to err,
When many of the scents travel over the air.

My advice is two get reel good at math before you are grown,
Because this language will only make ewe moan and groan.

English has never made sense, and now you see it too,
Unlike dollars and cents, one and won don’t make to.

I really hope I’m not banned permanently from the public library system after this!

See you soon,

Copyright © 2011 Marc Schmatjen

Have kids? Have grandkids? Need a great gift?
Go to today and get your copy of My Giraffe Makes Me Laugh, Marc’s exciting new children’s book. Get ready for a wild rhyming adventure!

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