Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sound and Sense, 57



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. do (noun): the first tone of the diatonic scale (do-re-mi, etc.)
2. doe (noun): a female animal (deer, rabbit, etc.)
3. dough (noun): a mixture of flour and a liquid (water, milk)

She really was a charming doe.
I gave her singing lessons, Yo.
We started out by singing “do ...

She’d far more talent than a crow,
And soon we made a ton of dough.
I’d start the song—and she could go!

And we were rich (the money flow!)—
So I stayed home (she traveled, though).
I baked a lot with sourdough.

But then, of course, here came bad luck.
She met a dude who drove a truck.
She married him—his name was Buck.

And soon I was completely broke—
This situation ain’t no joke—
While she just fawned upon her bloke.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sound and Sense, 56



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. dire (adj.): very bad, causing great fear or worry; very urgent
2. dyer (noun): one who works with dye

The situation—very dire.
His patent would so soon expire,
And everyone could be a dyer.

He wished he had much better planned—
Could see his factory expand.
He liked its name—The Dyer’s Hand.

Or, sure, he stole that from the Bard—
Some sonnet (reading it was hard)—
But now his life would soon be jarred.

“Oh well,” he thought, “It could be worse.
I’ve really had no cause to curse.”
He shuddered when he saw the hearse.

“Thank goodness, that is not for me!”
He said. It stopped right by his knee.
“Oh, well—to be or not to be!”

And off he rode into a scene
Where he turned very, very green
And slid into a fire machine.

He had a  grave you could admire—
And singing there, a gifted choir
That sang in praise of Old Man Dyer.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sound and Sense, 55



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. die (verb): to cease living (noun): a tool that is used for cutting, shaping, or stamping a material or an object (noun): one small cube with numbers printed on each side (plural: dice)
2. dye (noun) a substance used for changing the color of something (verb) to change the color of something

She really didn’t want to dye
That top. So she began to cry
When I suggested she might try.

“Well, why don’t we just roll a die?”
I asked. “And then we’ll see if I
(Or you) should choose the perfect dye

For your old top?” I thought I’d die
When I then heard my wife reply:
“I have a weapon—you can buy

Them on the Internet”—I sigh—
“And I am not about to lie:
Shut up, or I will used this die

To cut a different shape for you.”
I thought that that was dark in hue—
But shut my mouth—as wise men do!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sound and Sense, 54



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. days (noun—plural): more than one 24-hour cycle; specified time or period
2. daze (verb): to stupefy, esp. buy a blow; to dazzle with light (noun): the condition of being stupefied or dazzled

Oh, never—never!—in my days
Have you not managed to amaze
Me—leave me in a perfect daze.

Such days have passed—in thousands—and
I recognize that I still stand
Because I hold your loving hand.

Yes, life we know can strike, can daze,
And damage us in many ways.
But you’re immortal in my gaze.

You know why I place you above—
You know what I am dreaming of:
Eternal days with you, my love.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sound and Sense, 53



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. cue (noun): a signal to a performer or stage crew member; a hint; a stick for shooting pool
(Verb): to give a signal or prompt; to strike with a pool cue
2. queue (noun): a line of people who are waiting for something; a braid of hair usually worn hanging at the back of the head
(Verb) to form or wait in line

The endless queue gave me the cue
That things were not as they should be,
And so I grabbed my trusty cue
In case the zombies came for me.

A friend stood waiting at the door
And cued me when the creatures came.
The queue of one draped to the floor;
Some others also looked the same.

They didn't queue politely when
They broke into our little place:
They had forgotten all they'd been,
And each possessed a grisly face.

We cued some zombies—not like balls—
And then we ran out in the street
And hoped that people heard our calls
Before the zombies got to eat.

The zombie surge is just the worst—
Like Noah’s most torrential rains.
For humans always have been cursed
By fellow humans lacking brains.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sound and Sense, 52



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. creak (verb): to make a long, high sound (noun): a rasping or grating noise
2. creek (noun): a natural stream of water normally smaller than and often tributary to a river
3. creek (proper noun): an American Indian confederation of peoples (in the South)

He heard a certain kind of creak
Up in the attic. But to seek
The source just made him sore afraid,
And so downstairs our coward stayed.

He looked outside; he saw the creek
That wandered by. But would a peek
Upstairs be worrisome? He’d look,
Find something freaky, write a book

About it all!? A floorboard creaked
Up there. Our coward purely freaked
When he heard that and ran outside.
He saw a vision—nearly died.

A Creek stood there in full array,
Said, “I am stopping by today—”
But then the shriek near split his ears—
What was it with these young in years?

They cry aloud with slightest cause.
He waited for the cries to pause.
“That Creek up in your attic, Dude?
I have no wish to be too rude,

But he has run away from us
And must return (no special fuss).”
And then the coward—frightened stiff—
Knew that he’d better learn the diff


’Twixt creek and creak

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sound and Sense 51



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. coarse (adj.): having a rough quality; rude or offensive
2. corse (noun): corpse
3. course (noun):  the path or direction that someone moves along; a series of classes about a particular subject  (Verb): to move or flow quickly

His habits were a little coarse,
So he signed up to take  a course
That would improve the wicked course
Of life. For soon he’d be a corse
If evil were allowed to course
Unchecked. And so he bought a horse,
Which promptly threw him in the gorse,
Where he regretted his divorce
And, now dying, sought the source
Of discontent. But no (of course)
He failed—but left a message (Morse),
Then died, suffused with much remorse,
Regretting he’d not felt The Force.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sound and Sense, 50



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. clause (noun): (a) a separate part of a legal document (b) a group of words containing a subject and a verb
2. claws (noun—pl): sharp, curved parts on the toe of an animal (such as a cat or bird)

“Now write me a dependent clause,”
The hoary English teacher said.
The cheetah thought about his paws
And what they’d do to Teacher’s head.

But he (the cheetah) knew, of course,
The clause about deportment, so
He kept his claws withdrawn—the source
Of innocence. He was a pro

Of patience. But he knew the day
Commencement came—the last hurrah
For Teacher. He had found a way
To eat that hoary teacher—raw.

The teacher was about to praise
The cheetah’s old dependent clause,
When cheetah struck! His eyes ablaze!
Roared: “I'm dependent on my claws!”

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sound and Sense, 49



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. cite (verb): to mention; to quote an authority or author
2. sight (noun): the ability to see; a thing regarded as worth seeing
3. site (noun): location, usu. of something specific

You ought to cite authorities
For all those thoughts that you will use
In your attempt to write and please;
It isn’t right that you abuse

Your readers with such plagiarized
Assessments of those special sites
Where history—those moments prized—
Occurred or of those gorgeous sights

You saw while hiking through the Alps
Or sailing down the fabled Nile.
Reviewers love to take fresh scalps,
And they’ll take yours (in ferine style)

If you refuse to cite the source—
For all those sites and sights you’ve seen—
Where you researched your book. Of course,
Reviewers, known for savage spleen,

Will find another flaw to flag,
And all your citing for those sites
And sights of which you're wont to brag
About will reappear as slights.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sound and Sense, 48



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.

cinque (noun): the 5 at dice, cards, etc.
sink (noun): a basin or receptacle (kitchen sink) (verb): to submerge, go below
sync (verb): to synchronize (noun) harmony or harmonious relationship

He drew the cinque—that lousy deck!
And felt his hopes for victory sink.
So out of sync he felt—a wreck.
He wished that he could simply shrink

And disappear. Or maybe sync
His hopes and his reality.
“This can’t be very  hard, I think,”
He said. But then he drew a three!

He then cashed in his single chip—
And took a long and bitter drink.
He took a little bathroom trip,
And wept his heart out in the sink.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sound and Sense, 47



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.

cord (noun): a long, thin material that is usually thicker than a string but thinner than a rope
chord (noun): three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously
cored (verb): to removed a core from (a fruit)

The psycho thought he’d try a cord
To choke his victim out that day,
But he was feeling somewhat bored,
And thought he’d make a different play.

Then in his mind he heard a chord
A dark and eerie one, I’ll bet.
Selecting his most sharp-edged sword,
He stalked his victim (dude named Rhett).

He caught his prey (an evil man),
And soon that evil man was gored—
In fact, the cops could see the plan:
Yes, Rhett (like apples) had been cored.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sound and Sense, 46



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.

choler (noun): anger
collar (noun): a part of a piece of clothing that fits around a person’s neck and is usually folded down; a band of leather, plastic, etc., worn around an animal’s neck (verb): to catch or arrest someone

So when the cops had collared him,
They saw his famous choler rise.
And soon it filled him to the brim,
From toenails to his fiery eyes.

They put a collar on him then—
To transport him to county jail,
And that where he for months has been—
Oh, you should hear him rant and rail!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sound and Sense, 45



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.

cheap (adj): inexpensive; of low quality
cheep (noun): the faint, shrill sound of a bird (verb): to make such a sound

I bought a birdcage—it was cheap,
So much so that my bird won’t cheep.
He’s too ashamed of his new place—
And so he says it to my face.
It seems that he has made that leap,
You know? To cheep or not to cheep?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sound and Sense, 44



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.


cereal (noun): a breakfast food made from grain
serial (adj): arranged or happening in a series (noun): a story published or broadcast in separate parts over a period of time

He was a killer (serial)
Who found some fresh material
While watching movies (serial).

But then that kid from Cheerios
(The cereal—as each dude knows)
Pursued that killer (all such foes).

They had a fight imperial—
A deadly wound (arterial)—
And cereal beat serial!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sound and Sense, 43



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.


cense (verb): to perfume (esp with a censer)
sense (noun): one of the five natural powers (verb): to detect without being told
cents (noun, pl): coins that each equal 1/100 of a dollar
since (prep and conj and adv): before the present time

Since yesterday he had not known
His sense of smell had sharpened so.
He now could smell a turkey bone
But also cents and nickels, Yo.

And when in church the censer censed,
He’d long since figured out the smell.
He wished that it were not dispensed
With such delight—oh, what the hell.

Since he was feeling very blessed,
He figured out he’d let it slide.
He knew his senses were the best—
He sensed the girl who’d be his bride.

But finances were not his skill—
And soon his family lived in tents
Upon a distant wooded hill
With their declining pile of cents.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sound and Sense, 42



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.


can’t (verb): contraction of can not
cant (noun): the expression or repetition of conventional or trite opinions or sentiments; esp. the use of pious words

“What is your problem!” cried my aunt.
My uncle said, “I can’t stand cant.”

“Oh, well,” she said, “go out and paint!”
“Go paint the barn!?” he said. “I ain’t.”

“You should have said, ‘I’m not,’” she snipped.
“You’re right,” he said. “I simply tripped

Upon my silly stupid tongue—”
He said no more: His neck was wrung.

And so it goes with uncles, aunts:
The loser often wears the pants.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sound and Sense, 41



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.


adventuress (noun): a female adventurer, esp. one who seeks position or livelihood by questionable means
adventurous (adjective): not afraid to do new and dangerous or exciting things

Adventuress? So I was warned,
But at the time, well, I was horned

(If you know what I mean), and so
Adventurous, I came to know,

Was not the best of strategies.
Deceptions brought me to my knees,

And soon I’d lost most everything—
My house and car and all my bling.

So now I live beneath a bridge—
And feel resentment (just a smidge)

For what that woman did to me.
Oh well. At least I now am free ...

From money, job, and housing, too,
But I can always bum from you …


Right?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sound and Sense, 40



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.


Beau (noun): a frequent and attentive male companion
Bow (noun): a stringed device for shooting an arrow

Yes, Robin Hood was quite a beau,
So skilled with his most famous bow.
And Marian, so in the know,

Declared her love for Robin Hood,
Who recognized that this was good,
And straightened up his neighborhood—

That forest, Sherwood, from the tales,
Where Robin hid from laws and jails
With many other green-clad males.

But Robin didn’t give a damn—
He’d found his love, his loving lamb.
Forget the Sheriff of Nottingham!

And Robin, Marian would wed
(Although the Sheriff wished him dead)
And spend a lot of time in bed.

But moods of Merry Men turned black—
They gave R. Hood a bunch of flak:
They wanted their old outlaw back!

But he was now a married man
And bought a life-insurance plan
From some weird agent, name of Dan.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sound and Sense, 39



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.


bear (noun): you know, like Smokey? And Yogi? (verb): to accept or endure (something)
bare (adj.): not having a covering; not covered by clothing, shoes, a hat, etc.

The grizzly bear could hardly bear
To see the bare guy standing there.
But he’d be happy (this his hunch)
When he ate Bare Guy for his lunch.
It was, of lunches, just the best—
There were no blue jeans to digest.
He went to Starbucks, got a frappe,
And then lay down and took a nap.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sound and Sense, 38



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.


adds verb (3rd person singular): to calculate a sum
ads noun (plural): advertisements
adze (noun): an ax-like tool, for dressing timbers roughly, with a curved, chisel-like steel head mounted at a right angle to the wooden handle. (See below.)

I carefully would check the ads
I needed then a brand new adze.
But I’m a guy who rarely adds

With too much confidence.
My checkbook doesn’t make much sense
(It’s never balanced, to the cents),

And so I couldn’t buy the tool—
I cursed myself, You’re such a fool
For failing all that math in school!

So now to see my bills are paid
I’m once again in seventh grade,
Where progress (so I hope) is made.

The kids are pretty nice to me—
Don’t laugh at me too frequently.
How thoughtful those sweet kids can be!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Sound and Sense, 37



Our English dictionary has in it many words whose sounds and meanings can … confuse. In this next series of doggerel, I’ll be writing about several sorts of such words.
The first—the contronym: a word, says the Oxford English Dictionary, that has “two opposite or contradictory meanings.”
Earliest published use: 1962.

with (prep)
1. alongside
2. against

I stood with you when you were wrong;
I fought with you when you were right;
I sold you out for just a song;
I told the world you weren’t too bright;

I took your lover (once) to bed;
I trashed you once on Twitter, too;
I vandalized your car with red;
I vandalized your house with blue.

But I was wondering just now
If friendship-fracture ever mends.
I mean—is there a way (somehow?)
That you and I could still be friends?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sound and Sense, 36




Our English dictionary has in it many words whose sounds and meanings can … confuse. In this next series of doggerel, I’ll be writing about several sorts of such words.
The first—the contronym: a word, says the Oxford English Dictionary, that has “two opposite or contradictory meanings.”
Earliest published use: 1962.


wind up verb
1. to end
2. to start up

“ We’ll wind up our inquiry when
You tell us where you've really been.”
My parents were insistent, so
I told the story—let it flow.

“I’ll wind up this sad story, Dad,
By starting with the part that’s sad,
The part where I sneaked out last night—
I know that wasn’t very bright,

“But I was worried 'cuz Lucille—
And you know how she makes me feel—
Had texted me that she was blue—
So tell me, Mom, what you would do?”

My mother smiled—she often smiles
When she cannot restrain her wiles.
“I ask my parents what to do—
And this is what we thought that you

Would do.” Oh, well. It didn’t fly,
My story (I’ll admit: a lie).
Oh, stupid! A confounded plan!
And now I am so grounded, man.