Monday, August 15, 2016

Sound and Sense, 72

We’re moving next to the homophone: a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air. So … contronyms are words that have contradictory meanings (sanctiion = approve and disapprove; homophones sound alike but to not mean the same—and often are not spelled the same, either.

1. flew (verb): past tense of fly
2 flu (noun): a common disease caused by a virus
3. flue (noun): a channel or pipe in a chimney for carrying flame and smoke to the outer air

She knew that she was sick that day—
Oh, yes, she really knew:
There is not subtlety, you see,
About the dreaded flu.

So to her doctors then she flew
In hope for some relief;
Instead she heard the weirdest words
That made her feel much grief.

What he prescribed was awfully strange—
But he seemed confident.
So she complied—though she well feared
What his prescription meant.

“You build a fire,” the doctor said,
“And then approach the flue.
And breathe the smoke, the other fumes,
And if these things you do,

You’ll find yourself completely cured!”
And so she did, then died.
Asphyxiation was the “cure”;
The doctor had to hide.

They found him hiding in the woods—
They ripped the dude apart.
They learned he was a “doctor,” yes,
A Ph.D. in art.

And he’d prescribed so many things—
And this was really mean—
Some awful thing so he could paint
The sad ensuing scene.

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