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When Poets Ponder -Wordplay Emerges

I recently presented a poetry workshop for teachers in Hobart. Kate Neasy was one of those who attended. Kate followed up by emailing me one of her poems last week. It was a wow moment...

Kate Neasy, a.k.a Kathryn Rae has written a poem that really resonates with me. It deserves sharing. Such a cleverly constructed poem.

They say the best books -and poems to read are those that make us think. Well, this poem certainly did that. Kate's poem ponders commonly used idiomatic terms and begins to pose questions regarding their accuracy. Kate has kindly granted me permission to share her words. It gives me pleasure to present them on Poetry Friday.


Blue whales are not blue
New Town is not so new
Gold fish are not gold,
A cold war is not really cold.

A granny flat may be used by teens,
A bean counter rarely handles beans,
A silverfish does not swim,
Happy hour is often rather grim.

Daylight robbery can occur overnight,
Surveillance may result in an oversight,
Laundered money is never clean,
Green fingers are not actually green.

A big catfish does not purr,
An unknown chap may be addressed “Dear Sir”,
A running stitch is not in a race,
Meanwhile a stair runner stays in one place.

A bigwig probably has his own hair,
The share market doesn’t seem very fair,
A dog-leg can be a long way from a bark
And you can’t leave your car in the local park.

A bird hide is not a secluded aviary,
Yellow cake won’t be served at afternoon tea,
An oddball is not to kick around in a game,
A suitcase and a basket case are not at all the same.

A dead heat doesn’t kill the winners,
Lounge lizards don’t stay home for dinner,
Day break doesn’t smash the sun,
A shooting star doesn’t hold a gun.

Our language is such an incredible maze,
We can mix it up in so many ways,
So help the people who are finding it tough
To figure out meanings of idioms and stuff.

by Kathryn Rae


  1. That is a wonderful collection of English oddities, in an even number of lines.

    1. Indeed Brenda. Glad you enjoyed Kate's poem. Oddities is a great way of describing these terms.

  2. That is a great poem that powers up my love for word play.

  3. What a treasure this is for we who love language, oddities and all! There should be a daily calendar with this theme. Well done... thanks for sharing!

    1. It is indeed a treasure for those of us who love language Irene. Above all a poet must love language.

  4. What a fun poem to capture all those odd twists of phrase. It would pair well with the old Amelia Bedelia books!

    1. Thanks for dropping by Kay. The twists in terminology are what makes this poem so much fun, as you state.

  5. Oh, my goodness.....I teach so many tweens/teens that are learning to speak English that I giggled all the way through this. Think, indeed!

    1. Ah Linda, the potential of this poem begins to grow. Using it to shine a light on the true meaning of certain phrases would be a great application of Kate's poem.

  6. Such fun! Thanks to the poet and to you for sharing this week.

  7. Fun poem--and I can imagine a teacher challenging her students to come up with more verses to add to this!

    1. ...And what an interesting challenge that would be Buffy.

  8. That's really fabulous, Alan. Thank you for sharing this clever word play with us. She did an amazing job! -- Christie @

    1. Indeed Kate's poem has much to recommend it Christie. It was a pleasure to be gifted the opportunity to share it.

  9. What fun, and so cleverly put together. Thanks to both of you for sharing it!

    1. Speaking on Kate's behalf, it was our pleasure Violet.

  10. Delightful Alan, thanks for sharing Kathryn Rae's "So Not" thinking poem! Would be wonderful if more of us engaged in this fine activity …

    1. So glad you enjoyed Kate's poem Michelle. Hopefully it will lead to more sharing of poets and their voices.

  11. So clever and fun, too! After reading this, I'm sure I'll be thinking about expressions and phrases a lot more this coming week. How wonderful that your workshop yielded such riches--congrats to both of you!

    1. Indeed Molly, what a wonderful surprise it was to receive these words. Thanks for your feedback.

  12. Oh my, usually only my primary students see my work so this feedback is overwhelming. Thank you all for your lovely words!

    1. Well deserved Kate! When others appreciate our words and our efforts, it gives us the energy to persist. The growing of poets is a delicate process and nurturing is critical, whether its kids or adults.

  13. What an absolute delight! I so enjoyed reading this...and thinking about it.
    "A shooting star doesn't hold a gun." So cool - and that ending is spot on. Methinks that the author (and all of us) will be thinking of such other phrases that could fit this cool poem for some time. Thank you tons for sharing it! Peace. x


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