I hate grammer too, Raymond Chandler

Posted in Uncategorized by lmass on 25/04/2012

Lines to a Lady With an Unsplit Infinitive

Miss Margaret Mutch she raised her crutch
With a wild Bostonian cry.

“Though you went to Yale, your grammar is frail,”
She snarled as she jabbed his eye.

“Though you went to Princeton I never winced on
Such a horrible relative clause!

Though you went to Harvard no decent larva’d
Accept your syntactical flaws.

Taught not to drool at a Public School
(With a capital P and S)

You are drooling still with your shall and will
You’re a very disgusting mess!”

She jabbed his eye with a savage cry.
She laughed at his anguished shrieks.

O’er the Common he fled with a hole in his head.
To heal it took Weeks and Weeks.

“O dear Miss Mutch, don’t raise your crutch
To splinter my new glass eye!

There ain’t no school that can teach a fool
The whom of the me and the I.

There ain’t no grammar that equals a hammer
To nail down a cut-rate wit.

And the verb ‘to be’ as employed by me
Is often and lightly split.

A lot of my style (so-called) is vile
For I learned to write in a bar.

The marriage of thought to words was wrought
With many a strong sidecar.

A lot of my stuff is extremely rough,
For I had no maiden aunts.

O dear Miss Mutch, leave go your clutch
On Noah Webster’s pants!

The grammarian will, when the poet lies still,
Instruct him in how to sing.

The rules are clean: they are right, I ween,
But where do they make the thing?

In the waxy gloam of a Funeral Home
Where the gray morticians bow?

Is it written best on a palimpsest,
Or carved on a whaleboat’s prow?

Is it neatly joined with needlepoint
To the chair that was Grandma’s pride?

Or smeared in blood on the shattered wood
Where the angry rebel died?

O dear Miss Mutch, put down your crutch,
and leave us to crack a bottle.

A guy like I weren’t meant to die
On the grave of Aristotle.

O leave us dance on the dead romance
Of the small but clear footnote.

The infinitive with my fresh-honed shiv
I will split from heel to throat.

Roll on, roll on, thou semicolon,
ye commas crisp and brown.

The apostrophe will stretch like toffee
When we nail the full stop down.

Oh, hand in hand with the ampersand
We’ll tread a measure brisk.

We’ll stroll all night by the delicate light
Of a well placed asterisk.

As gay as a lark in the fragrant dark
We’ll hoist and down the tipple.

With laughter light we’ll greet the plight
Of a hanging participle!”

She stared him down with an icy frown.
His accidence she shivered.

His face was white with sudden fright,
And his syntax lily-livered.

“O dear Miss Mutch, leave down your crutch!”
He cried in thoughtless terror.

Short shrift she gave. Above his grave:


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