Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I actually don't agree with Language Log's discussion about how people learn to memorize poems. He made it sound like everyone can do it, and that's just not the case. Some people have the talent and some don't. I do realize the meter makes it easier for some people, but for others the meter just doesn't help.

Here are the fun poems that started all of this.

By Dwight Chapman

The negatives of English words
Conspire to baffle one:
Too few turn out predictably
Too many turn out un-.

Of prefixes they take their choice
Unfettered and at will,
And some results are logical
But most are strangely il-.

The canny etymologists
Are seldom led astray,
To them each case looks typical
To me each case looks a-.

What sliver of orthography
Is left for us to grab
When nowhere is normality
And everywhere is ab-?



I know a little man both ept and ert.
An intro-? extro-? No, he's just a vert.
Sheveled and couth and kempt, pecunious, ane,
His image trudes upon the ceptive brain.

When life turns sipid and the mind is traught,
The spirit soars as I would sist it ought.
Chalantly then, like any gainly goof,
My digent self is sertive, choate, loof.

by David McCord
The Oxford Book of American Light Verse

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