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

Ah

“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


16 comments

Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

... Not to be confused with 'Uh' which signifies confusion or a lack of a better word in a sentence when one needs to firm up ones thoughts..

I'm.. uh.. confused. Plus I don't rhyme. I feel bad about that. So much for teaching kids! They'll show ya up in a heart beat!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Very clever, with an undercurrent of sadness. It's interesting to have to think in British. Our "Ah" and "are" aren't homophones--but you know this. But then, so many of us yanks, when saying "are," actually sound more like the pirate's "arrrrrrgggghhhhh." Having been trained in phonetics and "stage standard" speech, I know my diphthongs.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Maybe this doesn't travel too well across the Pond, Candie. But I did my best.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi Christoph. This guy really exists. 'Twas he who stated that the apostrophe was not necessary; or reversible. So: "Its sad that it's neck was cold so we wrapped a feather bore around it's neck to make it more better" and many other gems like this. I wouldn't mind so much, except he criticises my Asian friends because he thinks he knows the language better.


KKalmes profile image

KKalmes 6 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

Hello TL, again I am enticed to read and very glad for the experience...

diphthongs, monophthongs, hiatus, phonemes... they are all the same to me... blah, blah, blah!

Hello CR, you're just showing off your writing brainiac to the new guy... you should be making money on this stuff, check out website...

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/WMFGA001/en/US...


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Hi "K". Welcome back. I'm beginning to realise that all my new chums are from the other side of the planet and are up and about when I'm on the way to bed. Thank God I don't go up too soon. Should I remember this distance across the Atlantic and be careful not to use too many colloquialisms? After all, as that great playwright, George Bernard Shaw (Irish chap, Chris) said,

"England and America are two countries separated by a common language".


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

I'm diphthongphobic. I confess.. Either side of the pond, matters not to me. I'm equally tongue-tied on any continent!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Clever, Candie, very clever. But I feel you tell a little white lie. Thanks for the comment... it made me smile.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Well.. as the great/great/great niece of a writer in the era of your above named writers.. that's my story and I'm sticking to it!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

oops! Delete me!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Tell me, Candie, please. Who is the great, great, great uncle or aunt? I'm fascinated now. And why delete you?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Ha! Showing off? Moi, KKhalmes? I would make a joke here about a Kkhalmesthong, but that would be crass. No, no, Twilight, don't worry about Britishisms. We are mostly familiar with them, and though I cannot speak for the others, I enjoy them. And after all, there are those of us that read great writers no matter where they come from.

In your story, I guess I projected a sympathy for the old fool.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I also, Chris. My tastes in writers are from both sides of the Atlantic. John Steinbeck, Frederic Prokosch, F Scott Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh, A.A. Milne, George Orwell, Thornton Wilder, and a few foreign chaps like Vladimir Nabokov and Andre Gide, but I don't speak foreign, so I have to read in translation (Yeah, I know, Nabakov writes in English).... I'm not very advenurous, am I? These are a few of my favourite things. Tra-la-la!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

If only (as they say). But thanks for taking the time to look around... You know you are always welcome with comments like that. But, sensitive soul that I am, I have been known to take negative criticism without immediately resorting to the knife drawer.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

This is priceless. We Scots, of course, have no difficulty making this particular distinction ;)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you for coming and having a read, Paraglider.

The person in question, though maintaining that poetry is his bent, seems to have little respect for spelling and or punctuation, so I find him a rich field of inspiration.

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