Poetry in (pro)motion – Business Speak immortalised in verse

Here in leafy Milton Keynes, England, we not only have our own Poet Laureate, but also another hugely popular performance poet by the name of Steve Crawford. Steve makes my idea of multi-tasking look like a quiet nap in the sunshine…

To quote his Amazon page he has been a … ” Photographer, Door-to-Door Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, Retail Manager, Computer Programmer, Systems Analyst, Shop Owner, IT Consultant, TV Director, Song Writer, Project Manager, Games Designer, Lead Creative Designer, Wedding Videographer, Project Leader, TV Cameraman, Film Director, Producer, Writer, Musician, Antique Dealer, Craftsman, Businessman… and now Poet.”

Poetry in (pro)motion - Business Speak immortalised in versePoetry

Steve Crawford, performance poet and multi-careerist extraordinaire

What all those amazing activities have done for Steve, apart from earning him a varied and colourful living, is to give him insight into a vast range of business and social environments which have provided him with inspiration for insightful, shrewd, clever and often very funny poems which he performs around the UK at arts festivals and other creative events.

Here is one of them, on the ridiculousness of business jargon … Business Speak, or lovingly nicknamed “BS.” Of course.  [Read more…]

Bored with all these reviews of 2013? Try this for a change…

New year,2014,2013,review,humor,funny,jokes, hilariousWhy can’t people be a bit more creative with their reviews of the old year? Hope you enjoy this poetic tribute, inspired by a similar tribute my friend Angelika wrote to the imbeciles who took nearly a week to install her new cooker (stove) recently. Ahem… [Read more…]

How older people remember the alphabet…

Do you have fond memories of those cute little poems we were taught as children to help us learn and remember the alphabet?

If so you (or an, er, older friend or relative!) might appreciate this version as shared with me by my good friend Eleanor S….

 

A is for apple

and B is for boat.

That used to be right,

but now it won’t float.

 

Age before beauty

is what we once said,

but let’s be a bit more

realistic instead.

 

A’s for arthritis

B’s the bad back

C’s the chest pains,

perhaps car-di-ac?

 

D is for dental

decay and decline

E is for eyesight,

can’t read that top line.

 

F is for fissures and

fluid retention

G is for gas which

I’d better not mention.

 

H high blood pressure

–I’d rather it low

I for incisions

with scars you can show.

 

J is for joints, out of

socket, won’t mend

K is for knees that

crack when they bend.

 

L ‘s for libido

what happened to sex?

M is for memory

I forget what comes next.

 

N is neuralgia

in nerves that get hit

O is for osteo

bones that don’t knit.

 

P for prescriptions

I have quite a few,

just give me a pill and

I’m good as new!

 

Q is for queasy

is it fatal or flu?

R is for reflux,

one meal turns to two.

 

S is for sleepless nights

counting my fears

T is for Tinnitus;

bells in my ears.

 

U is for urinary

troubles with flow

V for vertigo

Dizzy – oh no…

 

W is for worry

What bug’s going around?

X is for X ray

and what might be found.

 

Y for another year

I’m left here behind

Z is for zest I still have

— in my mind.

 

I’ve survived all the symptoms

My body’s deployed

Keeping twenty-six doctors

All fully employed!

 

Original poet unknown.

Never mind remembering  the alphabet – let’s use it!

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

Ode to a spell chequer

Many thanks to my good friend Lynn Tulip for sharing this brilliant poem with us… enjoy!

 

Eye halve a spelling chequer,

It came with my pea sea,

It plainly marques four my revue,

… Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word,

And weight four it two say,

Weather eye am wrong oar write,

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid,

It nose bee fore two long,

And eye can put the error rite,

Its rarely ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it,

I am shore your pleased two no,

Its letter perfect in it’s weigh,

My chequer tolled me sew.

 

— Sauce unknown

 

Out now on Amazon … all you’ll ever need to know on how to make your business writing brilliantly successful, in one handy book: Business Writing Made Easy by yours truly…grab it now, boost your business writing, and get ahead of the economic recovery! 

And you thought English was an easy language?

Many thanks to my good friend Suzie Warren who brought this “challenging” poem to my attention.

If you think your English is good, try pronouncing all of the following correctly. This is a poem written by Dr Gerard Nolst Trenité, a Dutch scholar – bless his heart – who was fascinated by what I always call the insanity of the English language.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him:

Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenité ( 20 July 1870, Utrecht – 9 October 1946, Haarlem), was a Dutch observer of English. Nolst Trenité published under the pseudonym Charivarius (which he pronounced irregularly as [ʃariˈvariəs] [1]). While the pronunciation of his own surname is not obvious (possibly the original French [tʁɛniˈte]), he is best known in the English-speaking world for his poem The Chaos which demonstrates many of the idiosyncrasies of English spelling and first appeared as an appendix to his 1920 textbook Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen.[1]

Now … how many of these words might you mis-pronounce? (My count is at the end…be honest now)

THE CHAOS

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.
Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say-said, pay-paid, laid but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.
Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.
Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining,
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.
From “desire”: desirable-admirable from “admire”,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,
Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.
Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?
Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,
Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.
Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?
Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.
Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.
Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.
Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,
Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.
Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but desert, address.
Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.
“Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker”,
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor”,
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.
Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.
Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.
And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.
Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,
Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.
Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.
Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)
Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;
Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.
No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.
But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.
Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.
Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!
Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.
Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.
Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.
The th will surely trouble you
More than rch or w.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.
Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em-
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.
The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.
Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,
Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.
Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?
Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite.
Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.
Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.
Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess-it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.
Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.
Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.
Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.
A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,
Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.
Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying “grits”?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough??

So how did you do?  I found 9 I couldn’t pronounce …

And I would be especially interested to hear from people who use English as a second language. Please share your thoughts in the comments….!

Useful further reading to help you with your English:

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“English to English: the A to Z of British-American translations”…more than 2,000 business and social terms from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

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