Playing with words is fun (being played with with words – not as much). But there are ways words can be enjoyed, not just twisted; played with for the joy of it.
Who doesn’t remember the word play of school days (pair, pear, pare), and the puns, witticisms, lyrics, double entendres, and classic name games like Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (playing with nouns – Ernest – and adjectives – earnest) or the silliest play of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s On First (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg).
Abbott: Alright, now whaddya want?
Costello: Now look, I’m the head of the sports department. I gotta know the baseball players’ names. Do you know the guys’ names?
Abbott: Oh sure.
Costello: So you go ahead and tell me some of their names….
Abbott: Goofy, huh? Now let’s see. We have on the bags – we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.
Costello: That’s what I wanna find out.
Abbott: I say Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third –
Costello: You know the fellows’ names?
Costello: Well then who’s on first?
Costello: I mean the fellow’s name!
Costello: The guy on first!
Costello: The first baseman!
Costello: The guy playing first!
Abbott: Who is on first!
Good, clean fun, right?! Well, only if it’s witty.
Let’s try a few more…
Nothing Rhymes With Orange
It just isn’t true
that nothing rhymes with orange
and it seems wrong
to convince the vulnerable otherwise,
as if a game is played
and couplet is the end of nothing
for any child can hear
that the word nothing doesn’t
come close to orange.
And I Quote
What is a quote to be quoted
and to whom does it belong?
those marks somehow borrow
what I wish was my song;
what I want as my own
but someone found before,
almost perfect way of words
I must have, and I adore;
sometimes because of who
but I prefer what is said,
the world is but objects,
not facts’ means instead;
picture what is or is not,
but what is written is read
stop asking what it means
or you’ll always be misled;
while I will quote as I wish
call me a plagiarist as well
all’s words and other words
not things we jsut misspell.
When is When
When – that’s the best way to start
a poem about memories and tears,
and ‘tears’ is such a good rhyme
for fears, hears, nears and years
which brings us back to when and
timing which is everything except
for emotion caught in time’s gears
(there’s that rhyme again), ripped
from childhood and baptized in
disappointment called adulthood
(you see, that’s how it’s done);
keep these things in mind and
compose away, don’t be afraid
to play with emotions and linger
while meaning disappears
and when becomes lost in years.
Then there are the abuse of words and grammar – for those who know enough to be mean about words (further vs. farther types, for instance).
There may be no matter more alarming
Than a grammarian who thinks himself charming
With quips and quotes from days past
Uttered snidely at every evening’s repast.
Throwing out rules of should not and never
Correcting chit-chat he thinks himself clever.
And that’s enough for now.