Are or Ah!
Here I give a short quote from a letter I received from someone whose understanding of the English language is pretty much the same as the rest of the population of this country; the land of Shakespeare, Milton, Wodehouse, Milne, Browning and Wordsworth… to name just a few. Unfortunately we, unlike most of the people in this world, neither know the structure nor the working of our language.
“Are, the Luxury of Solace and of Verse.
Also, of Peace of Mind when One can enter such a State”.
Short Lecture, delivered by the Poet Laureate
or its alternative title
“Are,” he says, “the luxury of solace and of verse,”
And peace of mind when entering such a state”.
He thus, I think, endeavours to convey
An idealistic argument of weight;
A deeply philosophical attempt
To so promote a Plato-esque debate.
And with, one sees, a-clustered round his knee,
Young Neophytes of varying tonal shade,
Perhaps a grade five from the Lebanon;
A Turkish lad, from paler pallet played;
Sub Continental youths with darker hue;
But each a manly figure, strongly made.
And all this host of nubile youth intent,
Absorbed disciples hanging on each word
He starts with, “Are, the luxury of so…”
But before he can continue, there is heard
A snigger from a Neophyte, and then
A giggle from a second, then a third.
“You can’t use are in that context,” says one
“The word you seek is Ah, an interjection”.
“That’s right,” another rises to explain,
“Are is a verb; Ah, an exclamation”.
One lad makes clear that “Ah! no, Blah Blah Blah…”,
Works as well as “Oh! no…” in application.
A swarthy lad says, “Take care where you use
An Ah or are as one is not the other;
The words you use are really homophones,
So can’t be juxtaposed, one for another”.
“Would you accept our help,” one lad enquires;
“Say if you’d rather not, or if you’d rather”.
An Arab lad with thinly veiled disdain,
Explains linguistics and vernacular;
Presenting nice examples of the sounds
That make the English tongue peculiar.
“A doctor peering down one’s throat requires
That one says Aaaaaa... But never Ah or are.”
The Poet Laureate begins to squirm;
Discerning, now, the tables have been turned.
Those winsome lads he’d wanted to impress
Know more, much more, than ever he has learned
And knowing more than he, his mother tongue,
Show where linguistic bridges have been burned.
And still example follows paradigm;
A plethora of quotes from here and there
“Ergo, Beware when writing plural ares
Take care. Juxtaposed letters give you arse.”
And, very tongue in cheek another states,
“P. G. Wodehouse simply wrote it as an R”.
Our Poet Laureate now hangs his head;
At once the teacher has become the taught.
Where he contrived by words to so impress
Potential Neophytes, whom he had thought
Would hang upon his lips, his negligence
Of English have his aspirations brought to naught.
More by this Author
Aphrodite sleeping - Louvre ...
India, 1946. Independence looms. Day in the life of a Chota Sahib. But this young boy doesn’t realise that he is the baby who will be thrown out with the bathwater. He’s Indian, but the wrong colour.
Language and its importance in the modern world. And example or two of useful, empathetic and compassionate uses of the English language. Also, the disturbing anecdote of a caring person's mistake.