Friday, April 23, 2010


The verb “cleave” is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate. Thus, “cleave” can mean the opposite of itself. This poem was composed while strolling Durbar Sq. Market at dawn.

If our synonyms are all antonyms
And none of our homonyms sound the same
If our syntax finds itself all screwed up
And our punctuation is for shame
No worries, because…
I still cleave to you, if you still cleave to me
Like sticky berry syrup or sap from a rubber-plant tree
And if one day we get mighty carved up like a Thanksgiving Turkey
At least we’ll be still yummy and warm in somebody’s happy tummy
If our modifiers only dangle, and our infinitives stay sadly split
And our cranky verbs become irregular and our grunts monosyllabic
If we use our articles sparingly without the indefinite
And we describe ourselves in only stale subjects without a predicate
Oh please, never fear because…
I will cleave to you, if you will cleave to me
We’ll follow two halves of treasure maps to the buried pirate’s booty
Walk the plank, oh do not dread, I’ll follow just out of necessity
We’ll build a row boat out of logs that float and sail away safely to sea
If we discover it’s not irony to say with hyperbole
That our gerunds seem no more to end with I, N, or G
And we agree it’s no metaphor that we both abhor
This grammaclysmic jocund company
Oh drat, that’s too bad, because…
I’ll stop cleaving to you, if you stop cleaving to me
We’ll not hold fast to each other’s ship’s mast for all around to see
And if we split, well that’s okay, it’s how it’s supposed to be
Cause I stop defining you and you stop defining me despite that stupid dictionary.

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