Misconstrued Poetry Restorations


The North American Council on Poetic Quality has issued the following guidelines of words that can no longer be used in consumer- or industrial-grade poetry. Exemptions will be applied for cause. The Council also reminds all that National Haiku Pedantry Month starts the first of November, so be ready to help them enforce the rules about cutting words and nature imagery by leaping up on desks and shaking golf clubs about while insisting it’s everyone else on the Internet that has the issue and they should go write limericks instead.

O: as a particulate extrapolation that fills in those little bits where it feels the sentence hasn’t quite got started yet, the word-letter “O” has suffered from extreme overuse and fatigue, bringing the population of the word-letters to the brink of extinction. Therefore the word-letter “E” is to take its place, as the stocks of this are much more robust and have a tendency to get into the garage if not thinned out some. Use with abandon, the long E only.

Sanguine: this word has to be retired from use because nobody’s really all that confident anymore that they know what it’s supposed to mean. The best we can work out is being really sure there was a Star Trek where Spock said, “I’m not sanguine about our chances”, and that kind of gets the tone of whatever the heck “sanguine” is across without exactly saying what it is. Spock seems like he’d probably use the word rightly, though it is weird hearing him use a contraction like that even though the contraction problem was Data’s instead. It just feels like maybe Spock wouldn’t have used contractions if he wanted to sound so very Spock-y.

Thew: dropped from the roster because of persistent misuse by a public which thinks it represents the past tense of “thaw”. As anyone could see by looking within the dictionaries that we presently have to use to swat people for not looking these things up, “thew” is the term, old-fashioned but connoting familiarity or intimacy with the listener in a discussion of yew trees, paralleling the uses of thee and thou. It could also be slangily used as the term when the listener is one or more youths and the subject under discussion is “few” in number. Be more careful about these kinds of misuse; this is how we lost “tworl” as a word.

2,895: though there are over seven cases in which “two” is a useful number and nearly ten in which “three” or for the tiresome “thrice” comes in handy, experiments have shown there aren’t any poems with “2,895” in them that are worth anything so we’re just dropping it already. Yes, this is even after consideration of the fact that 2,895 is the number of days between September 22, 1928 and August 26, 1936.

Expenditure: this word has been promoted out of the poetry division and has been put on the management track in its new division. As a result it will be studying the telephony trade, inside as well as outside if it can’t find the key. Direct all its correspondence there. The position formerly held by “expenditure” will be filled after a search beginning internally but then spreading to Springfield, Massachusetts, as we’ve always wanted to see it.

Tendenicious: despite its long fight to remain in the set of acceptable poetic words it’s had to be dropped because the spell checker keeps insisting it isn’t a word. Maybe we were thinking of “tendencious” instead, but that doesn’t look much better. Anyway it’s a fine word to speak, but trying to write it down is too fraught with peril.

Misconstrue: this word is unacceptable for durable poetic construction due to its slangy construction and awkward vowel sequence as well as a tendency to roll over at highway speeds in light rain. Use instead its pre-declension root of “misconstruation”, as in, “E my joy, how could such a misconstruation of intents transpire to be revealed?”

Finally, the Council is hoping to organize its first Limericks Do So Have Rules Too month, tentatively projected for January or March of, one assumes, a future year.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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