Wednesday, November 07, 2007

For Dr. Johnson

some of us keep our Us with us

When we were very young, we were tweaked
into thinking: spelling would make us smart,
and where we put our words and commas
would make a mighty difference
when we walked out into the world.

But later on we, like, outsmarted
our former selves, and our vocabulary
broadened into a wide river. Muddy
or quickly clear, our speech traveled miles
and masticated mountains into sand.

Webster’s influential jingoism
resounds today: our words are shorter,
but we are still the same distance
from our neighbours on the other side
of the wild, wordy ocean.

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