Note: Years ago I read an essay by R.P. Blackmur entitled “Lord Tennyson’s Scissors” which cited Tennyson for saying that “he knew the quantity of evey English vowel except those in the word scissors—where each vowel is enclosed and made of uncertain quantity by two consonants.” I got to thinking about that and wrote this poem.


Lord Tennyson once said, I think,
That “taking pen and putting ink
On paper is not hard to do.
‘Tis easy if one thinks it through.”
But e’en Sir Alfred had a time
Of it when forced to find a rhyme
For one word, simple, often heard,
But one he would not use; the word
__________Was Scissors.

He wrote of love, he wrote of war,
He wrote “The Crossing of the Bar.”
He wrote of both the live and dead
But still one word was left unsaid.
Not once in “Lady of the Lake”
Did Guenivere, while sewing, take
A shining pair of blades in hand;
Those blades well known throughout the land
__________As Scissors.

He’d rather face the Light Brigade
And leave the battle torn and frayed
Than dip his poet’s standard down
And use a word he thought a clown.
The word he fled from all his life
Was used quite often by his wife
Who proved that love is often blind
By simply asking him to find
__________The Scissors.

Lord Tennyson now rests within
Westmin’ster Abbey’s dust and din.
There to the right, just off the nave
You’ll find this verse upon his grave:
“Oh give me ‘orange’ or ‘cantaloupe.’
At least with these there is more hope
In English etymology
Than I could ever find in Thee,
__________Damn Scissors.”


James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers. 


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6 Responses

  1. David Watt

    Clever and amusing Mr. Tweedie! Tennyson would agree you have easily ‘Made the cut’ in golfing parlance.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    There is no proper rhyme for “scissors”
    Except the vulgarism “whizzers”
    (A term that ill-bred persons speak
    To reference those who take a leak).

    –J. S. Salemi

    • James A. Tweedie


      Lord Tennison would doubtless find your verse
      Quite droll. Perhaps quite good–perhaps quite awful.
      Yet in reply (for better or for worse)
      I must admit, your poem left me ROFL.


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