Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ackerman's Grammar Poem

While re-reading Diane Ackerman's Origami Bridges, I came across a poem which I think is instructional for all of us:


Once life was all verbs --
discover, marvel, write, love, dare.

You inhabit a land of pronouns --
I, you, him, her, us, my, their.

Together we visit the past perfect's
gentry -- all the haves and have-nots;
endure the agitated conditional --
what if, could ahve been, if only, otherwise.

But the intense mood is where
I really specialize --
Do I employ or implore you?
And also the first-person transcendental --
would that my spirit took wing.

A word-slut, I'll tense anything
that dangles or can be modified,
spinning dreams of a future perfect,
until I suffer delusions of candor
and become a misplaced aberrant.

An idea in aspic is a word.

We could dissect that image
over lunch, were it not for a cardinal
rule of analytical grammar:
never end a sentence with a proposition.

So you'll have to trust
that at the diner around the corner,
where the catch of the day is flu
and a poetic young waitress
rhymes her bell-like hips as she walks,
I've ordered you a caffe latte
and a double entendre to go.


Blogger padma said...

how very

11:42 AM  

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