General Lee (R) shakes hands with General Grant, painting by Thomas Nast‘1865 or 2021?’ by Leo Zoutewelle The Society October 26, 2020 Culture, Poetry 44 Comments The constant growl of battles down the ways, The daily angst that never seems to stall, The hate of feelings hurt that always stays, The pain and shame of living in a thrall! Today the tense unknown disturbs no more The weary soul exhausted from it all. The cruel conflicts that we so deplore Have left. The sun shines bright after the squall! Thank God, for now all that has disappeared; A blissful silence rules the frazzled field; A gentle breeze the worn-out air has cleared; A faithful master has our spirits healed. Was this ordeal just now the last such war, Or, God forbid, a new beginning score? Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States. After retiring in 2012 he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished). NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 44 Responses Joe Tessitore October 26, 2020 Well done, Leo! We’ll see later today if it’s a new beginning score – Judge Barrett’s confirmation is scheduled for a vote. Loved the fact that you used the word “deplore”. Reply Cynthia Erlandson October 26, 2020 Even though personally, I would have tried to avoid the inversions in lines 11 and 12, I thought this was a lovely meditation on the nervousness we feel now, unavoidably conjecturing about our very near future. Verse 2 was especially beautiful! Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 26, 2020 There is an idiomatic problem with the words “living in a thrall.” The word “thrall” can be a noun, when it refers to a slave or a captive. If used in that sense, better phrasing here would be “living as a thrall.” It’s also possible as an adverb, in the phrase “being in thrall to something” (i.e. being enslaved or imprisoned by something). But the indefinite article “a” can’t be used with it. Reply Julian D. Woodruff October 26, 2020 Prof. Salemi, You have me puzzled: isn’t the phrase “in thrall to …” grammatically parallel to “in debt to …,” i.e., owing a debt (n.)? In which case, how is “thrall,” in your instance, adverbial? Isn’t the phrase “in thrall” descriptive of someone or something, and a prepositional phrase? Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 26, 2020 It’s the prepositional phrase “in thrall” that functions adverbially, in the instance that I gave (“being in thrall…”), where “in thrall” modifies the verbal gerund “being.” If an adverbial phrase answers the question “How?” then “in thrall” does that for the word “being.” The main point is that you cannot say “living in a thrall” in proper English. That’s why I suggested that it be revised to “living as a thrall.” Same meter, plus clear and proper meaning. Margaret Coats October 26, 2020 The most attractive line is “A blissful silence rules the frazzled field,” with “frazzled” much better than “war-torn” or other possible word choices. This present-tense line is in good parallel construction with the present perfect tense in the next two lines, helping overcome the difficulty Cynthia noticed. The problem Joseph Salemi addresses could be solved in another way with line 4 becoming, “The pain and shame of daily life in thrall.” That’s a little less idiomatic than his suggestion, but “daily” in line 4 would link with “Today” in line 5, if you want to focus on the difference a day makes. The poem as a whole is an intriguing piece set in 1865 to ask a pertinent question about the present! Reply C.B. Anderson October 26, 2020 Except in exaggerated speech, “cruel” is usually pronounced with one syllable. The best evidence for this is from Elvis Presley in his song “Don’t Be Cruel”. In any case, the possible second syllable is only supported by a schwa, and schwa-based syllables are always safely elided. In your metrical scheme, the reader is forced to pronounce “cruel” as a two-syllable word. I don’t quite know how to read the last line. Do you mean “score” as in twenty, as in the tally of points in a game, as in musical notation, or as in something else altogether? It’s peculiar how you used the sound of established rhyme-pairs to create further rhyme-pairs down the line. It’s unusual to do so, but certainly not forbidden. I have not yet figured out the pattern you employed, but it’s only a matter of time. If you had no pattern in mind, then no matter. Next time you will have this formal device at your disposal. I have used similar techniques on many an occasion. Reply Leo Zoutewelle October 26, 2020 I’m sorry, C.B. but I have never in my life pronounced “cruel” as a one-syllable word and at 84 I don’t think I’ll change, and it will be a cold day in hell indeed when I’ll use Elvis as an example for anything! “score” as in a running list of outcomes. Reply Margaret Coats October 26, 2020 I too have always pronounced “cruel” with two syllables. So does my Webster’s College Dictionary, and Clement Wood’s Complete Rhyming Dictionary. Neither book offers one syllable as an alternative. C.B. Anderson October 27, 2020 Don’t be cruel to yourself. Cold days in hell are considered a welcome relief. Peter Hartley October 28, 2020 CBA, Leo and Margaret – I have been collecting dictionaries, inexplicably, for more years than I can possibly remember. I have the complete Oxford English Dictionary in micrographically reduced form, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, NODE (the New Oxford Dictionary of English), the last four editions of the (COD) Concise Oxford Dictionary, the Collins Dictionary (the 2000-page version) the 2000-page Bloomsbury Dictionary and the last two editions of the 1800-page Chambers Dictionary, the best register of current English in the U.K. Surprisingly they all support Leo and Margaret in giving two syllables to cruel. Mike Bryant October 29, 2020 As a matter of interest, and because I grew up in south Texas, the word “way” is considered to be one syllable. If you want a Spanish speaking person to pronounce “way” correctly, you would have to spell it “uei” and it would be pronounced with more than one syllable. Leo Zoutewelle October 26, 2020 To all: I much appreciate all of your very helpful comments and ideas. Thank you all very much. Leo Reply Peter Hartley October 26, 2020 Leo – a fine little poem on the joys of retirement to which, for myself I would add that I have not missed my work for a minute. I think the word thrall is just about OK in the context you have used it. The indefinite article with a word that can mean servitude is unusual but not mistaken, and we are not poets so that we can kowtow to those among our readers who have the vocabulary and syntax of a ten-year-old child. We are poets so we can say whatever we like and get away with it. Reply Leo Zoutewelle October 26, 2020 Peter, it hadn’t occurred to me yet, but you made a very good point here! Thanks. Reply Cecil Hill October 26, 2020 We are poets who have a license to be poetic. Thanks for the reminder. Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 26, 2020 Would you people say “We are doctors so we can do whatever surgical experiments we like and get away with it”? Would you say “We are pilots so we can do whatever crazy maneuvers we like in the air and get away with it”? Being a genuine poet means being a professional, with professional skills. When you make puerile statements about our “poetic licence” to be non-idiomatic, you are showing that you don’t take poetry very seriously. Reply Peter Hartley October 27, 2020 Joe S – To force a spurious correlation between the roles of an airline pilot and a poet is also a puerile statement. Nobody’s life is put in jeopardy by my carelessly dropping a syllable or even, let it not in Gath be said, an entire foot. I DO take my poetry seriously but that will never preclude me from making the odd flippant remark. Joseph S. Salemi October 27, 2020 This is what I mean when I say that a great many people in our movement to restore classical English poetry are actually a fifth column for modernism or modernist tendencies. Taking traditional poetry seriously means taking the English language seriously. The phrase “living in a thrall” is senseless and inept. Both I and Dr. Coats made two simple suggestions as how the problem could be remedied, and all of a sudden people started getting their backs up about “poetic license” and “freedom.” What’s going on here? Are we committed to using the English language properly, or are we just another bunch of free-verse freaks, going off in weird directions? Julian D. Woodruff October 27, 2020 I agree with you, Prof. Salemi, especially on the meanings of words. If meaning is stretched, that stretch had better be clear and (the reader hopes) imaginative. As for use, again one can claim poetic license, but it’s best not to have to do so. And yet, I just read, near the end of Paradise Lost, Bk. 3, after Uriel’s speech: “Thus said, he turned …” How Uriel was said Milton does not explain; which is vexing, since he could have used “saying” without violating his stylistic parameters. Can Milton have his “said,” or is he owed one of Basil Fawlty’s “sound thrashings”? This poetic license is a topic for discussion of which you would make an excellent leader! Joseph S. Salemi October 27, 2020 Milton, as Latin Secretary to the Commonweal, often thinks in Latin, and it has an effect on his English diction. The words “Thus said” are probably a reflex of the Latin ablative absolute “Hoc dicto,” or else the phrase “Ita locutus” (having thus spoken). Reply Peter Hartley October 27, 2020 Joe S – You once wrote, I think, that few people on this site understand irony. I drew the inference from this that you DO. When the writer above speaks of a licence to be poetic, far from being puerile he is merely invoking that “poetic licence” or permission to use, for example, recondite language and to sacrifice literal truth, sometimes, for the sake of meter and flow and euphony; and to use, if he really must, pretentious archaisms. My own statement, countered irrelevantly by one of your own (about doctors and pilots) was about how “we poets can say whatever we like and get away with it”. This was intended merely as a most supreme touch of dramatic irony to compete with that of Sophocles or Aeschylus and no more than that. I have a great respect for your opinion, believe it or not, and have described you as the éminence grise of the Society (possibly shortly to be overtaken by Dr Coats unless you mug up on your mediaeval French) but I cannot understand your apparent fixation on conspirators infiltrating the SCP and filling it with dissidence. I am as committed to the English language as you are, as committed to using it properly as you are and I could take particular offence at the suggestion that I may be a”free-verse freak”. I have written some 250 poems over the past three years. Some of them are OK and some of them are dreadful but there is not a single line that doesn’t have a rhyming counterpart. Horrifying as the thought may be are we not all supposed to be on the same side? Reply C.B. Anderson October 28, 2020 I don’t think Dr. Salemi is fixated “on conspirators infiltrating the SCP.” Not all conspiracies are advertent; some are emergent, and happen only due to a failure to attend to the constitutive (as opposed to regulative) rules of English usage. Such mistakes are NOT poetic language and do not fall under the protection of poetic license. A pilot may execute a loop-the-loop to impress observers, but certainly may not crash his craft into oncoming friendly air traffic. Sure, languages evolve, but that doesn’t mean that serious persons ought to participate in the devolution or the mutilation of such languages. Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 27, 2020 I did not call you a free-verse freak, nor even suggest it. Since you lean on the rhetorical device of irony, I’ll lean on this one: the rhetorical question. That was what I put forward in that final sentence. A rhetorical question, nothing more. If you took offense, I am sorry. I hardly care who is the eminence grise here, nor do I aspire to attain any such absurd position. I simply post poems, and say what I think. One of the weaknesses of sarcasm, irony, flippancy, or any witticism that depends on these devices is that they are generally not well understood on a computer screen, unless they are as heavy as a sledgehammer. You say you were being ironic when you wrote “poets can do whatever they please and get away with it”? OK, I’ll take take you at your word. But it’s crystal-clear that Zoutewelle and Hill ( the follow-up commenters) took you quite literally. It starts with the minor corruptions of language. I’m not taking about the petty little tricks that we formalist poets use on occasion. When John Masefield used “lazareet” instead of “lazaret” to get a rhyme, it was no big deal. Or if some other poet uses a singular verb with an otherwise collective noun for the sake of euphony, I don’t lose sleep over it. It’s not these little things that matter. It’s the ATTITUDE of the poet that is crucial! If he constantly takes a cavalier approach to idioms, and accepted meanings, and proper usage, and the metrical contract, and slant-rhyme (followed by off-rhyme and near-rhyme and non-rhyme), then he’s not really a part of our team. Why should we grant him leeway, or decline to correct his mistakes? How many times have I heard poets at other websites blather on about “freedom” and “poetic license” and “creativity”, and “originality” and all the other bullshit terminology for shirking one’s job! So when I hear the same drivel here, it annoys me. I lived through the nightmare of the 1960s, and I know that the cant about “Freedom! Liberation! Do your own thing!” is nothing but a cover for barbarism and cultural decay. Yes, I do worry about infiltration and dissidence, because I have seen it occur time and again in university departments, in government, in churches, in clubs, in corporations, and yes — even in little niche-market locations like poetry websites such as this. As Leo Yankevich used to say, “We are in a war without quarter, AND THE FRONT IS EVERYWHERE.” Call me a conspiracy theorist if it pleases you. But as you look at the sheer madness and mayhem that currently surround us, and that threaten to become sanguinary and apocalyptic in the next few months, ask yourself if those conspiracy theories sound so strange now. Reply Peter Hartley October 28, 2020 Unfortunately your Eminent Griseship is not a role that you can assume or decline: it is conferred upon you through the benevolence of your devotees, so you will just have to lump it I’m afraid. The position certainly helped Lord Melbourne to wield considerable influence didn’t it? Your rhetorical question, “Are we just another bunch of free-verse freaks?” I had never in a million years considered it as a possibility until you suggested it. Has anybody else suggested that we are apart from you? As far as I was aware nobody is a free-verse freak in SCP, or remotely near becoming so. Surely a rhetorical question doesn’t need an answer because the answer is blatantly obvious. But in your case I have to ask: are we a bunch of free-verse freaks in your opinion or aren’t we? If we are it’s a shock to me and you can count me out of the bunch. If we aren’t then what are you getting in a twist about? I too deplore the apparently organised advance of barbarism; again, like you, beginning with minor corruptions in the language .I deplore the fact that I cannot use a useful word like gay in a poem. I deplore the fact that contemporary doesn’t mean what it meant when I was born, when its meaning filled a niche. I deplore the fact that antiques experts on the TV have never heard of A candelabrum, that you need to look almost apologetic to say criterion or phenomenon; and don’t try saying agendum or prolegomenon because they’ve already disappeared in our lifetimes. But that is how language “develops”. It develops through blunders and ignorance. Once we all knew that vagary was pronounced to rhyme with canary until it became a literary as opposed to a colloquial word and everyone had forgotten how to say it. I know how the Montessori’s of the world advocated free expression and how children must all have prizes and must not be allowed to have made a mistake or to be compared adversely to their peers, which accounts, ab initio for much of the barbarism you speak of. And I can spout volubly about the decline in fine art since about 1900 which at the same time can justify itself alongside any of the truly greats. Who is the greater artist, Émin or van Eyke? Emin is far better known. Dufy or Duccio? Leonardo or Lowry?. Raphael or Rothko? Who is the greater composer, Chopin or Cage? Distinctions are getting more and more blurred and the emperor’s new clothes are the finest of all .The point I want to make here is that you seem to spend so much time not just preaching to but aggressively castigating the converted. I don’t think most of us would be in the SCP if we didn’t broadly share the same views Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 28, 2020 Peter, I don’t think that anyone here is a free-verse freak. We’re all trying our best, according to our individual lights, to keep traditional poetry alive and to advance its prestige in a hostile world. We are all sickened by the palpable decline in cultural literacy that has occurred in the last few decades. We are, indeed, all on the same side of the battlefield. The real question I’m trying to raise is this: What mistakes did we make that allowed things to come to this sorry pass? How did this tsunami of merde hit us? And all I’m suggesting is that it is the tendency of too many of us to be tolerant and good-natured and accepting of small instances of deviancy, thus opening the door to bigger and nastier deviance as the years go by. Instead of being tough with transgressors, we let things pass, and tell ourselves that we’re just being “open” and “inclusive” and “free-spirited.” And that is EXACTLY how our enemies infiltrate into our strongholds and slowly take over. I have seen it happen many times. Our aesthetic enemies are like vampires. They cannot enter our dwellings unless we specifically invite them in. And that is what we do when we start orating about “freedom” and “poetic license” and “innovation” and “creativity.” We invite the vampires in. I have no real argument with you, Peter Hartley. But I would like to see a discussion here at the SCP about the attitudes that we as formalist poets ought to have towards those who do reject and despise our viewpoints. However, let it be preceded by the admission that they ARE enemies, and that they hate our guts. Reply Peter Hartley October 28, 2020 Joe S – thank you for taking the trouble above to put your position very clearly to me. A discussion in order to establish a concerted stance to adopt against this insidious barbarism and tyranny would I think prove both salutary and enlightening. Productive? I don’t know, but it would go a long way to ensure that in SCP we are all singing from the same hymn-sheet. (Did I just say that – my all-time pet hate in cliches.)I must say that I don’t understand the motives behind the destruction of beauty apart from envy, or does that more or less sum it up? No, I don’t understand the motives but I have long known the time had arrived. I think that is why, with my first few months’ salaries I began to stockpile dozens of boxed sets of Handel oratorios and every bit of vinyl I could find from the Renaissance and the baroque. This is music, and the “works” of John Cage on the one hand and the groups of posturing hedonistic sybaritic uneducated adolescents on the other hand will prove to be its death-knell. As a painting conservator I was fortunate not to have to deal with much art from the c20th unless it was accidentally damaged, and thank God for that! Because today artists use the shoddiest materials that will not long survive the test of time. Why should their creators care? None of it is worth preserving. Our director once had to explain away the selection of a work for display that, it turned out, had emanated from a four-year-old, its simpering mother basking in vicarious delight .Its father said it had always been interested in art. It will be a sad day indeed when there is not a thing of created beauty left on this earth and on current trends that day will not be long coming. Reply Joseph S. Salemi October 28, 2020 Dear Peter — Envy is surely a part of it, along with the other deadly sins (pride, anger, lust, avarice, and the rest). But right now, in the truly extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves, I think is is more accurate to say that we are witnessing the impending worldwide triumph of “mysterium iniquitatis” (the “mystery of evil”). Cultural. artistic, political, and social disorders have now reached a level that would have been utterly unthinkable in 1950. And many of the persons whom we meet every day, or who have power over our lives, are flat-out insane. My late uncle Marte Previti was a restorer of paintings, and he ran The Previti Gallery on Manhattan. I remember the painstaking work he did in cleaning and repairing canvases. He loved the work of the Hudson River School, and his prize possession was a magnificent panoramic oil by John LaFarge. Uncle Marte and I disagreed on many matters, both religious and political, but I shall never forget his profound culture and his unerring aesthetic sensibility. He loathed the worthless tripe that passes as “art” today. And he told me that many modern paintings suffered from “inherent vice,” which meant that they had been produced in a slapdash manner with cheap, unstable, ephemeral materials that would never stand the test of time. Reply Julian D. Woodruff October 28, 2020 It seems to me that a lot of effort and genuine technical skill goes into painstakingly reproducing photographs of one thing or another, or painstakingly reproducing the detritus of commercial activity, such as cardboard packaging. This began in the heyday of Warhol and Johns, I guess, and is carried on, with enthusiasm if not imagination, on at least 3 continents today. It makes even imitations of the likes of Newman look inspired by comparison. Reply C.B. Anderson October 28, 2020 One man’s detritus is another man’s meal-plan. Margaret Coats October 28, 2020 As this discussion is still going on, I hope no one will mind my going back to the syllables in “cruel,” and particularly to Elvis Presley’s supposed example of one-syllable pronunciation. Thank you, Leo Zoutewelle, for maintaining standards here, and thank you, reference librarian Peter Harley, for showing that the standard still stands. Of course elision is possible, but never required. What Elvis did in “Don’t Be Cruel” was simply to use vocal technique to make Otis Blackwell’s composition his own in performance. Corresponding lines from the song are: DON’T be CRU-el TO a HEART that’s TRUE BAB-y IT’S just YOU I’m THINK-ing OF Nine syllables with every other one accented. If you bought sheet music you would find notes for them all. Star singers don’t reveal techniques on the printed page; impersonators have to study Elvis’s performance carefully. In performing this song, Elvis extended the accented syllable CRU and swallowed the -el, which is a standard thing even classical singers often do. He also did the less common thing of extending CRU so long that the accented TO also disappears, leaving the accent in a breath space before “twa HEART.” This is masterful. Go listen, and hear the accent in the space. Also pay attention to the corresponding line, where the grammatically important, but unaccented, “I’m” gets almost swallowed. In some repetitions, it appears as YOU-um; in others it’s just YOUM, with the unaccented syllable gone. My point is that Elvis himself probably pronounced “cruel” with two syllables in ordinary speech–and that we cannot take any vocalist in performance as a standard for language. Singers strive for artistic effect in other ways. For something more directly pertinent to formalism, the group Rush performed a formal lyric, a pantoum entitled “The Larger Bowl,” on their 2007 album Snakes and Arrows. Printed lyrics by lead singer Neil Peart show a real pantoum in form. Sadly, Peart did not compose music to fit his poetry, but used the standard reprise-to-fadeout in performance. No one should take the performed song to represent a possible ending for a pantoum as formal poem, as the printed lyrics demonstrate in this case. Reply C.B. Anderson October 29, 2020 Indeed, Margaret, my dictionaries support the two-syllable pronunciation for “cruel” as well, but as I wrote above, the vowel in the second syllable is a schwa, the shortest vowel in the English language. In this case there is not even a medial consonant as there is in words such as “lemon” and “linen” to force a well articulated syllable. “Fuel” is much like “cruel” in this respect. “Crewel,” though pronounced just like “cruel,” at least has a medial consonant. My point is that the second syllable in “cruel” is so short that it can barely support even an unstressed syllable, presuming that we want to be counting syllables at all. Reply C.B. Anderson October 29, 2020 I am quite comfortable treating “-ue-” as a diphthong. Joseph S. Salemi October 29, 2020 Kip, I agree completely. The same is true of words that rhyme with “fire” (wire, hire, mire, tire, etc.) They can be treated as disyllabic or monosyllabic by a poet. I also pronounce “cruel” as a monosyllable (KROOL), as does everyone I know here in Noo Yawk. The pronunciation KROO – el sounds decidedly affected to me, like those who pronounce the title “duke” as “dyew – k.” I once hear somebody refer to “The Dyew -k of Windsor.” Frankly, I wanted to pyew -k. Mike Bryant October 29, 2020 Joe, Susan laughs at me when I say puma OR duke… apparently, dyew -k and pyew -ma are perfectly correct when speaking the Queen’s English. I’m never going to call John Wayne The Dyew -k. I don’t know how she pronounces boomerang or Sumerian. I hope it’s not byew- merang and Syew -merian. Joseph S. Salemi October 29, 2020 Mike, I think the same is true with the word “jaguar.” Here in the states we almost always say JAG – warr. But when an Englishman says it, it’s always JAG – yoo – arr. Vowels, semi-vowels, schwa, and diphthongs are all tricky, especially if they are not stressed. Margaret Coats October 29, 2020 You started this duel by criticizing Leo, whose page this is, for a faulty line in “The cruel conflicts that we so deplore.” It is a perfectly good iambic line. You certainly ought not to count syllables and find his “metrical scheme” lacking one, based merely on your dialect diphthongization. Let him force you to exaggerate cru-el. I am perfectly willing to let Joseph Salemi and other SCP New Yorkers take me along as they pour out liquid r’s to fabricate second syllables in fire and mire. Now, what about parking the car in Harvard Yard? Susan Jarvis Bryant October 28, 2020 Leo, ‘1865 or 2021?’ affords an astute poetic comparison that lets us know that history most certainly repeats itself. My favorite line is, “The sun shines bright after the squall!”, firstly, because I adore the word “squall” and, secondly, it gives us all the hope of some much needed sunshine in these dark times. Thank you very much, Leo. I would also like to thank all the SCP titans of comments. What an interesting discussion. I love the fact that people are so passionate about literature, language, and attitudes surrounding it. After reading, I will admit to fretting about my pudgy gluts, my penchant for making up new words – I simply can’t get rid of my beloved “be-nibbled”, or my new collective pronoun, “gnash of moths”. Please don’t make me!! LOL Reply Peter Hartley October 28, 2020 Susan – don’t ever abandon the pudgy gluts. Like you I’m very fond of autoneologisms. Adfenestrability is a useful one = the capacity to throw oneself Into a building via an external window. But you probably know that. How about chiropterophagous = bat-eating. A limacophile indulges in improper relationships with slugs. Getting onto real words an age last is somebody who never laughs.If you are musaceous you look like a banana, buteonine, like a buzzard; struthious means you look like an ostrich, there are five different words for the cheekbone (or at least I know of five: malar, jugal, cheekbone, Zygoma and zygomatic arch. An epergne shaped like a ship is called a nek ,The courtship display of a black grouse is called a lek , a man with a head shaped like a ship is cymbocephalic. If he just generally looks like a ship he is navicular. If he looks like a cucumber he is cucumiform. A person with a fat bottom is steatopygous, with a beautiful bottom is callipygous, if he hates the sight of roofs he is a stegophobe. Sorry if you already know these words. They just occur to me as I write. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant October 28, 2020 Peter, what a cornucopia of linguistic wonder for me to pore over! I am inspired! I’m burning to employ “cymbocephalic” – I have someone in mind. He has a prow of a forehead and a bow of a nape. In fact, his head, with the addition of a few branches, could be used as an “epergne”. Of course, then it would be a “nek”, wouldn’t it… or, am I confused? Either way, I feel a poem of titanic proportions, plus pudgy gluts, coming on. I’m saving “cucumiform” and “callipygous” for a Valentine’s Day poem like no other! I hope Evan will be brave enough to publish it. I may even venture to write it from the point of view of a “limacophile”, but I fear molluscular (my new contribution to the English language) allusions may repel some of the more timid among us. Peter, as ever, you’re an inspiration! Thank you! Peter Hartley October 29, 2020 Susan – I eagerly await the poem and am exceedingly envious of the prospective recipient of the cucumiform billet-doux. Keep it away from the pudgy gluts though – they have enormous litters and leave a right mess on the draining board. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant October 30, 2020 Peter! My draft cucumiform billet-doux has met with the pudgy gluts… you know the rest. I’m devastated! Reply BDW October 29, 2020 Lines For Leo Zoutewelle by Sir Bac de Leeuw “Don’t be cruel” —Otis Blackwell Poetic license, in a courtroom, veers toward perjury; the poet should write, like a doctor when in surgery; or, like a pilot when one’s flying over hill and dale; the poet should be very careful trying not to fail. The poet should write, like a driver on the freeway lanes, to regulate speed, read the signs, and follow in the lines. The poet should judge thoughtfully, and operate with care. The poet should fly high enough for loop-the-loops in air. The poet should drive anywhere, in ATV or car, but able to use downtown meters, when he needs to park. Reply David Watt October 30, 2020 Hello Leo, thanks for your poem concerning battles past and present. I fear that the latest battle will be a protracted one Your poem has spurred lively debate about poetic standards, and the ensuing discussion again demonstrates the often under-utilized richness of the English language. In regard to the word ‘cruel’, in my part of the world we employ a one syllable pronunciation. I also particularly enjoyed your line including the words ‘frazzled field’. Exhaustion and pain pretty much describe the aftermath of battle. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.