Monday, October 24, 2016

Sound and Sense, 2-54

Time for more instances of the homophone: a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air.

1. mask (noun): a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise; something that serves to conceal or disguise; (verb): to hide, to conceal; to put on a mask
2. masque (noun): a type of play that was performed in the 16th and 17th centuries by actors wearing masks; a masquerade

The Red Death donned his fiery mask,
Preparing to go to the masque
Where foolish people somehow thought
They could escape—no hope they’ve got!

The partygoers masked themselves—
As fairies, goblins, witches, elves.
The liquor soaked their brains and breath
As they prepared to meet Red Death.

And so it was—as it must be—
We can’t avoid our destiny.
The writer who was in the know?
Immortal Edgar Allan Poe.

            —with gratitude for Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” (1842) (link to the story)

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