A Letter to Sir Grammar

Dear Sir Grammar:

With all kindness and courtesy, may I request,
A new package of words, freshly made,
For, truly, it seems I have used them all up,
And my writing has near been betrayed.
To start with, I shall need a splatter of verbs,
That will glimmer and gleam for an age,
Then a handful of nouns, both concrete and abstract,
To bring pictures and life to my page.
Moving over and under, and round and about,
I shall need one or two prepositions,
And pronouns, though always unnamed and replacing,
They eliminate much repetition.
Next, a parcel of adjectives, crispy and sweet,
For those fellows sure love to explain.
Oh! And please don’t forget to include interjections,
Those loud, lively words that exclaim!
Lastly, if you don’t mind, I require some adverbs,
They’re perfect for all types of weather,
And, always, please add in a ball of conjunctions,
To tie up my clauses together.
Now I must end this note, else my words all run out,
And if lucky, I’ll manage to sign,
Dear Grammar, I thank you for these lovely phrases,
That make all the world’s writing shine.

With the last of my words and I know it,
A very desperate poet.



My Midnight Garden

In the tranquil hush of twilight,
When the world is calm and still,
Lilts of long forgotten beauty,
Lure me to my windowsill.

To a dome of silver darkness,
Decked in diamonds twinkling high,
Like the blossoms of an orchid,
Smiling from a freckled sky.

Oh, the wonder of my garden,
Never home to weeds nor scars,
`Tis the magic of the midnight,
For my garden blooms with stars.




Come, Night, and spread your splendour on the land,
A cloak of dappled jewels that blink and fade,
O you who grasps the wings of peace in hand,
Breathe sweet zephyr of dreams to those betrayed.

And many slumber in your lulling stay,
Blind to the beauty of your silent fall,
Perchance a wayfarer had lost his way,
Shall stare with awestruck eyes around this all.

Yet all your charm shall once again be gone,
Our flaxen moon’s soft smile evanescent,
Surrender to the humming of the dawn,
As Sun rises, his crown incandescent.

Farewell, and linger in my day, O Night,
You shall return to set the stars alight.



Dania El-Ghattis is a grade nine homeschooled student in Melbourne, Australia.

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8 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    There is nothing like learning at home ! Congratulations on some fine work.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Well done, Dania. You followed form well, your vocabulary is extraordinary for one your age (have you participated in spelling bees, perchance?) and you were inspired to create some memorable phrases. I was particularly struck by your closing couplet in Crepuscular.

    Farewell, and linger in my day, O Night,
    You shall return to set the stars alight.

    Lovely, indeed.

    Now for a few suggestions–small ones.

    1. There is no reason to pair the plural “prepositions” with the singular, “repetition.” Find a way to use “repetition as a plural so the rhyme matches. Easily done.

    2. The letter to Mr. Grammar would have a more satisfying end if you ended it with a pentameter line and a more formal closing, perhaps along the lines of,

    With the last of my words and I know it,
    Sincerely Yours, A very desperate poet.

    or, perhaps, to trim it to a trimeter couplet:

    With the last of my words and I know it,
    Sincerely Yours, A poet.

    3. Although poetry allows for some creative word-play, I am not quite convinced that “beauty” “lilts;” at least not in the same way the spoken language and music do. This is not so much a suggestion as it is an observation.

    4. “Never home to weeds nor scars,” Mr. Grammar would mention the short-hand rule for correlative conjunctions: “Either/or, neither/nor.” Your phrase should read, “Neither home to weeds nor scars” or “Never home to weeds or scars.”

    5. This is more of a question than a suggestion, but I am somewhat puzzled by the line, “Breathe sweet zephyr of dreams to those betrayed.” Who are “those betrayed?” (also, one does not breathe “to” something, but “on” or “into” something.”

    There are a number of other poetic niceties you will learn along the way (such as the consistent use of iambs–or, less commonly, trochees–in a sonnet), and most of my suggestions have been minor tweaks to what are remarkably fine efforts. The visual pictures your conjure are vivid and the wit in the Mr. Grammar letter was sophisticated and wonderfully wry.

    Whatever else you do in life, keep writing poetry; lots and lots of it. You are off to a great start. I hope to see more of it here at SCP.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    “My Midnight Garden” is my favorite, and that last verse, those final lines:

    ‘Tis the magic of the midnight,
    For my garden blooms with stars.

    Lines like that, from a ninth-grader!
    I write lines like that and I die happy!

  4. C.B. Anderson

    Dania, Your age is not important. What’s important is your maturity. You have already impressed a number of my esteemed colleagues, and that in itself is impressive. But, if you really want to become a good poet, you must press on and let nothing deter you. Say what you feel, and feel what you say, and (this is just my opinion) do it in accordance with the guidelines of traditional formalism. If your proclivities take you somewhere else I won’t despise you, but most probably I’ll be disinclined to read you. Come what may, there are a good number of persons here at this website who would love to read any poems you would care to submit in the future.

  5. David Watt

    Dania, your poems demonstrate wit, and the ability to create truly memorable lines. The observations/comments made by James Tweedie in relation to fine-tuning were spot on, in my opinion.

  6. Leticia

    I just sighed out of pure admiration and appreciation when I read Crepuscular.


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