November Verse 9: Shouting at my phone

I won’t name the podcast. I suppose if I had been listening with real interest I wouldn’t have got snagged on what is after all a common usage these days, but it was drilled into me in primary school that one lies down and lays the table, lay down and laid the table, and my mind evidently still replays the nuns’ rebukes from 1954.

November verse 9: Yelling at my phone
She said she just laid in the water. 
I shouted at my phone: Laid what?
The language changes and I ought to
take it in my strides – why not?
Give someone an intensive purpose.
Let him join an army corpus,
answer questions someone begs
and buy the dozens that are egg's.
Sneak peaks aren't fit to die on.
The world's just right for doggy-dogs
but still wrong for slow-boiling frogs.
The planet warms, we may be dying.
As we near that final night
at least let's try to spell it right. 

In case any of the references are obscure:

  • line 4: the correct idiom is ‘take it in my stride’
  • line 5: ‘to all intents and purposes’ means something; ‘to all intensive purposes’ doesn’t
  • line 6: ‘Corps’ is pronounced to rhyme with ‘core’. And in my opinion ‘corp’, short for ‘corporation’, should be pronounced as written
  • line 7: ‘To beg the question’ does not mean the same as ‘to raise the question’. In classical logic, it happens when an argument’s premises assume the truth of the conclusion, instead of supporting it
  • line 8: Apostrophes aren’t necessary when an s is there to indicate more than one of something. (Apostrophes are probably necessary hardly anywhere, but that’s another argument)
  • line 9: It’s a sneak peek and a dog-eat-dog world
  • line 10: The analogy of a frog that won’t jump out of boiling water if it boils gradually may be instructive, but I’d like to know if there’s any evidence that frogs are that stupid

8 responses to “November Verse 9: Shouting at my phone

  1. I love it. Same vintage JS – you and me. I’ve just finished Amy Thunig’s quite moving story of growing up: Tell Me Again – but biting back my response to lay/laid down – every time. And I loved all the other examples. Visiting friends in Canberra a couple of weeks ago I almost pulled over to get a bunch of roses from a roadside seller – but then I saw the sign: Rose’s 4 sale – and I motored on by!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha!! It’s not just me then!! Laid down drives me mad, and don’t get me started on “gifted” and “exited” ARGH!!!
    Thank you!! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Edwina, you’re a fogey before your time! Oddly I don’t mind ‘gifted’, which has a shade of meaning different from ‘given’ something to do with formality or ceremony. Likewise ‘exited’, though it’s a bit of a barbarism, suggests theatricality, so has its own flavour. Samuel Taylor Coleridge railed against ‘finalise’. Sadly I think lines 3 and 4 (with a singular ‘stride’) are the only truly defensible position on these things. But we can still rail

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anne Bell Knight

    Are you a creative,Jonathan ?


  4. Haha! Not even part of the creative industries, Ann


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