Skip to main content

Poetry Friday -The Grammar Police

44 Common Confusions to Annoy the Grammar Police
A fair bit of grammatical word play in this poem. For me, word play remains a critical part of writing poetry.  I recall a wonderful story of two retired teachers, who regularly met for coffee. They both carried a stick of chalk with them just in case they had to correct the spelling, or grammar on various cafe noticeboards.

As Ralph Fletcher wrote in his book, Pyrotechnics On The Page
'Like most writers I know, I have always had an abiding interest in words for their own sake.' 

I'm with Ralph on this. I indulge in wordplay for a number of conscious reasons. When I write like this, I am motivated by a need to be:
  • Playful with words
  • A bit surprising
  • Deliberately irreverent
  • Humorous
Hope you enjoy this poem on Poetry Friday.

The Grammar Police

Anna Gram thought her teacher
Miss Anthrop
Was an undercover agent
-for the Grammar Police.

Anna feared for the words huddled in her notebook.
…maybe her nouns were common
And possessive
Were her verbs passive?
Did her adjectives demonstrate?
She knew some of her pronouns had trouble reaching agreement
-and her infinitives had spilt.
She suspected some of her ellipses may have been guilty of having an extra dot.
She occasionally misplaced her modifiers
And far too many of her sentences were simple and this gave her a complex.
She felt her vowels rumble and her colon collapse.
Her hopes had come to a full stop.
There, their, they’re
Said her friend, Con Junction.
I will hide her red pen…

Alan j Wright

Supreme Court Sits as the Grammar Police - Bloomberg


  1. Oh I love this Alan. So very clever, and made me lough out loud. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Sally. I had so much fun making it work and adding in as many grammatical terms as I could think of. Wordplay is such a buzz for this poet. I've got my dad to thank for that. It was such a feature of my formative years.

  2. I love me a good word play. This poem is a delight. I especially like: "And far too many of her sentences were simple and this gave her a complex" - I can relate! You achieved your humorous goal. : )

    1. Thanks Bridget. Pleased that my efforts made you favourably disposed towards my grammatical efforts.

  3. I remember a few years back that some group was actually traveling the country here with paintbrushes & paint in hand to correct billboards. It felt like a mission where another would have been more helpful for mankind. I love this thoughtful friend who 'will hide the red pen', Alan. Wonder how it's going via Zoom? Happy weekend to you & yours, hoping all is well!

    1. Those red pen people will be somewhat stressed in these days of Zoom I suspect, Linda. Stay safe and be well. Always good to hear from you.

  4. This is so much fun! And I second hiding the red pen--word play is much more fun. Hope you are staying well.

  5. Thanks Kay. Word play is indeed a delight...
    I am well and embracing the ‘solitude.’ For me it’s a chance to make some creative moves without the normal distractions. Be well, be safe,


Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

Opposite Poems

Opposite Poems

In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.

Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.

I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there

What is the opposite of kind? A goat that butts you from behind
Paul Janeczko

You will  notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.

What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock

You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.

Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy t…

Poetry Friday: The Safety Pin Poem

Poets not only write poetry, they also read poetry. In order to be able to write poetry, one must read it. Lots of poetry in fact... 

I want to share a short little poem by Valerie Worth. I bought Valerie's book, 'All The Small Poems And Fourteen More,' while living and working in New York, some time back. It remains a personal favourite. 

I love the way the poet shines a special light on everyday objects, transforming them into something unique and worthy of attention. Her close observations elevate her poems into the special category. 

Each poem in the collection celebrates earthly wonders. From eggs to garbage, from potatoes to pockets, each object is given special attention in the form of short poems employing keen observations. 

Valerie Worth demonstrates through her poems she totally understands the saying-'ideas exist in things.' 

The poem I have chosen to share with you (one of my personal favourites) is titled, 'Safety Pin'.

Safety Pin
Closed, it sleeps On…

Life Cycle -A football poem by Bruce Dawe

This poem by Australian poet Bruce Dawe epitomises the unique connection sporting tragics have to their preferred football teams, -an almost tribal allegiance. Each season supporters stare down the twin imposters- victory and defeat. They remain both loyal and hopeful of eventual triumph. This poem refers specifically to Australian Rules Football, but it's themes are universal.
I share this poem on the eve of the 2017 Grand Final to decide the Premiership for this football season. My team, the Richmond Tigers have reached the play off to decide the ultimate victor. They have not contested the Grand Final match for 35 years. My hopes fly with them. This poem links two of my great loves -football and poetry...

Life Cycle
When children are born in Victoria
they are wrapped in club-colours, laid in beribboned cots,
having already begun a lifetime’s barracking.
Carn, they cry, Carn … feebly at first
while parents playfully tussle with them
for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (An…