Tag Archives: grammar

On Grammar and Worry

As usual, I am running very close to some end of month deadlines. I had four sets of submissions to send and have only managed to finalise one set. That went off a couple of days ago and I have jut been informed that one has been accepted. It is only a senryu, so it’s almost embarrassing, as it’s still hard to see three lines as a poem.

Try as I might, they still seem like fragments rather than poems. I know it takes more work to get it right in three lines, but it doesn’t look like much of a result for month’s effort. To make it even harder, the subject was Ekphrastic poems. I only discovered the term three or fours years ago, so will explain it – it’s a poem about a work of art. If you already knew that, I apologise for being condescending. If you didn’t, these examples are interesting, as you will know some of them, even if you weren’t aware of the term.

At times like this, I think of all the poets who include English degrees in their writer biographies. They spent years learning all this stuff and then they find themselves in a journal rubbing shoulders with people like me who just pile words upĀ  without a clue what I’m doing. There’s an editor who sometimes writes back to me with suggestions based on points of grammar. I would hate him to know this, but there are times I have to go to the internet to find out what he is talking about.

Last time this happened I was amazed by the number of people discussing a point which I had never needed to know about in over 60 years. And having learnt about it, I forgot it again.

I wonder if there’s room in the world of poetry for an Ekphrastic poem on the subject of Fowler? My only worry is that if I start to think about my language too much I may become too fearful to write. I already worry about it being good enough, but what if I add the additional worry about being correct?



Dogs, oranges and apostrophes

You never have a camera when you need one do you?

I’ve just seen Edie the sheep dog leap from the back of the pick-up and run round in a big circle to gather a mixed flock of hens and guinea fowl.

The results were both spectacular and predictable, with one of the guinea fowl ending up on the barn roof and the dog looking perplexed as everyone disappeared in a flurry of beating wings.

There’s nothing wrong with her ancestral need to herd things, but there’s obviously a bit of fine tuning to be done.

Meanwhile I have discovered that a citrus-scented keyboard makes typing a more pleasurable experience. That’s a spin-off from my diet, as I’m now eating more fruit as snacks to kill the urge for biscuits and other bad stuff. The yoga group left some biscuits yesterday and they are still there. Well, most of them are. It seemed rude just to ignore the gift. At one time they would have been gone before I left on Thursday night.

The downside to the citrus-scented keyboard is that I can’t type any questions at the moment as the key that produces question marks is wedged by a piece of orange peel that fell from one of the fruity snacks.

I think the answer is probably to lever the key off gently using a penknife or small screwdriver and to clean underneath. Me, penknife, electrical equipment…

I may wait until Monday. If it dries out I may be able to get it going without further work.

If not, I may be able to work round it. Over the years I’ve managed to get round most of my apostrophe problems by rearranging my words. I mean, how difficult can it be to do without a question mark…