Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sound and Sense, 88


1. guessed (verb): past tense of guess—to form an opinion or give and answer about something when you do not know much or anything about it
2. guest (noun): a person who is invited to visit or stay in someone’s home; a customer at a hotel, restaurant, etc.

He honestly should not have guessed
About the history of his guest,
Who really was a noxious pest.

He speculated that the guy,
Who dressed just like a butterfly,
Was leaking most of his supply

Of brains. He guessed—and right out loud!—
This guest was not too well endowed,
And that, of course, is not allowed

At Motel 6. He’d just been hired—
Possessing all that was required—
And now, Day One, he’d just been fired.

“Oh, well,” he thought, “I’ll be all right—
I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut tight.”
And off he walked into the night.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sound and Sense, 87


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. groan (verb):  to make a deep sound because of pain or some strong emotion (noun): the deep sound one emits because of pain or some strong emotion
2. grown (adjective): no longer a child; (verb): past-participle of grow

From in the hall she heard his groan
He’d wakened with such na├»ve hope:
He’d thought that night he would have grown.
But now his mirror’s told him, “Nope!”

It’s hard to tell your lovely son
That growing is not fast but slow—
He’s just so full of hope, that one,
But one day (soon?) of course he’ll know.

Some lessons that we learn are hard—
And growing is just one of these.
Our hopes are painful to discard,
And kids take effort to appease.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sound and Sense, 86


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. grocer (noun): a person who sells food and other supplies
2 grosser (adj.) comparative form of gross—very disgusting

The grocer sold disgusting food—
It suited both his thoughts and mood.

“Why sell the food I’d like to eat?
That’s wasting profit”—this he’d Tweet.

They called him “grosser” after that—
And shunned his shop in nothing flat.

And very soon the dude was broke—
Addicted to white powder (coke)

And ended up in custody
With lousy food (but it was free).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sound and Sense, 85


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. grisly (adj.): causing horror or fear; very shocking
2. grizzly (adj.): a form of grizzled (having grey hair)

It was a grisly sight she saw—
Remains of her dear bro-in-law.

He’d run into a grizzly bear—
He hadn’t known the bear was there.

The awful bloody grisly sight
Affected her—her hair turned white.

And so she was a grizzly soul,
Who never was again quite whole.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sound and Sense, 84


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. grade (noun): a level of study in school; a letter or number that indicates a student’s level of achievement (verb): to give a rating to someone or something; to assign or prepare for grades
2. grayed (adj.): having become gray or older

He wasn't happy with his grade
With how his teacher, very grayed,
Stood in his class and crudely brayed:

“That boy—that one who’s sitting there—
Is really dumb, and I don’t care
Who knows it. So I thought I’d share

My feelings here in class today.”
The kids all laughed (a sad display),
And I? Well, I just went away.

For years I wandered all alone
(Without computer or a phone)
And thought of how my dreams had flown.

But then I heard a little bird
That chirped: “Rely upon the word!”
And so I’ve done—you may have heard.

I now write doggerel all the time.
(Okay, I sometimes force a rhyme.)
Today I write about that slime

Who shamed me all those years ago.
I hope he knows I roll in dough—
Much more than Edgar Allan Poe.*

That bird I’d met (he’d known the score)
Was that famed raven known of yore,
That one who’d croaked, yes, “Nevermore!”

And from that bird I took the rhymes—
Some awfully dumb (they should be crimes!)—
That keep me in the bucks (sometimes).


*who never made much

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sound and Sense, 83


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. gored (verb): past tense of gore—to pierce or wound with something pointed (as a horn or knife)
2. gourd (noun): any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for decoration and not for eating; slang—the human head/brain

He must have been out of his gourd
To order that exotic sword.
He fell upon it—and was gored.

So just remember: It’s not bright
To buy a weapon for a knight:
It almost never turns out right.

It's better, when you're feeling bored,
To buy and carve and fill a gourd
With beer, and, once it's poured,

Enjoy yourself.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sound and Sense, 82


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. gnu (noun): wildebeest
2. knew (verb): past tense of know; to have information of some kind in your mind
3. new (adj.): not old; recently born, but, or created
4. nu (noun): the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet

The gnu knew nu—he'd studied Greek,
To him a language very new.
But knowledge—ever!—he would seek.
It’s what, he felt, he ought to do.

And so a gnu professorship
At Harvard soon was put in place.
His classes were not wise to skip:
A wildebeest can hurt your face!

He had a very long career—
His honors many (not a few).
But then the words we hate to hear:
“It’s time we hired a new Prof. Gnu.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sound and Sense, 81


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. gnatty (adj.): bothered by or covered with gnats
2. natty (adj.): trim, neat, and tidy; dapper

When Natty Bumppo (Cooper’s dude—
The Last of the Mohicans guy)
Was sometimes gnatty (never crude),
There was no substance he could buy

To bring relief. The time would come
For that. And so he suffered—hard.
But he would never get too glum—
He was so strong in that regard.

He was no natty dresser, no.
He had no interest in high style.
He went where he just loved to go;
While slaying deer, he wore a smile.

He also wore one finding paths—
And working with the pioneers.
This prairie guy (who needed baths)
Still lived for many, many years!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sound and Sense, 80


1. gild (verb):to cover something with a thin layer of gold
2. gilled (adj.): equipped with gills (like a fish!), organs for obtaining oxygen from water
3. guild (noun): an organized group of people who have joined together because they share the same job or interest; esp. an association of people who made or sold goods in the Middle Ages

Well, Frankie Fish believed a guild
Comprising members who were gilled
Would be a certain way to gild

His bank account. He gathered fish—
And to them all announced his wish—
But watched his dream just sadly squish.

They didn’t think the thing was fair—
Not here, not there, not anywhere,
And so they took Frank to the air

And left him there.
Flop, flop.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sound and Sense, 79


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. genes (noun): pl. of gene, a part of a cell that controls or influences the appearance, growth, etc. of a living thing
2. jeans (noun): pants made of jean (a durable twirled cotton cloth) or denim—usu. used in the plural

“Because of her impressive genes
She looked impressive in her jeans.”

Now this was said by several Genes
About some women (all were Jeans).

It is no puzzle what it means.
Although I fear that it demeans

A woman dressed in denim pants,
Who hates the dude who looks and pants.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sound and Sense, 78


SOUND AND SENSE:
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. gamble (verb): to play a game in which you can win or lose; to risk losing  (noun): something that could produce a desired result or a bad or unpleasant result
2. gambol (verb): to run or jump in a lively way  (noun) a skipping or leaping about in play

It was a gamble, this he knew,
To teach The Taming of the Shrew.

The students could not gambol through
That Shakespeare text. But he would do

The best he could. He gambled, yes,
But doggerel cannot express

How pleased he was with the result—
And one could say he did exult!

The students loved the fighting scenes—
Though wondering what Shakespeare means

By his odd words—so out of date.
But still—he tried to explicate

The puzzling, the confusing parts
And hoped the Bard had touched their hearts.

It was no gambol, reading Shrew,
But he was glad: The kids came through.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sound and Sense, 77


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. gaiter (noun): a cloth or leather covering worn over the lower part of the leg especially to keep the legs and ankles dry when hiking
2. gator (noun): short form of alligator

He put his brand-new gaiters on,
Preparing for a hike.
He’d planned to hike the Everglades—
So much was there to like.

The gator thought about his lunch.
He always thought of food—
The finding it, acquiring it—
These always helped his mood.

The hiker wandered somewhat near
The gator later on.
The gator leapt; the hiker cried.
But then he was just gone.

The searchers found so few remains—
And they looked everywhere.
But then a searcher cried aloud,
“I see some gaiters there!”

And so they were, but that was all
The searchers ever found.
The gator, meanwhile, merely burped—
A gator’s not profound.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sound and Sense, 76


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. frees (verb): third-person singular, present tense form of free—to release or liberate
2. freeze (verb): to become a hard substance, like ice, because of cold( noun) a period in which weather is very cold
3. frieze (noun): a sculptured or richly ornamented band (as on a building or piece of furniture)

He thought he’d try to paint a frieze,
But, nearly done, he had to sneeze
And blew the paint into the trees.

That night there was a total freeze,
And he (so very hard to please),
Looked out: It brought him to his knees.

They say that art’s a thing that frees
Us from the everyday. Unease,
However, grew: A Balmy Breeze

Blew sneeze from trees into the air—
It got in everybody’s hair
(And even choked a grizzly bear.)

And so our artist had to split—
His fans had had enough of it.
(It’s kinda gross, you must admit!)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sound and Sense, 75


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. foul (adj.): very bad or unpleasant; evil  (noun): in sports—an action that is against the rules (verb): to make a place dirty; to commit a foul (see noun def.)
2. fowl (noun): a bird that is raised for food; any kind of bird (verb): to seek, hunt, or kill wildfowl

Macbeth was hunting on the moor—
A day so foul he nearly wept.
A witch had told him (he was sure!)
That he would have good luck—except,

Of course, if he would chance to see
What reason just could not explain.
I’m sure it’s in your memory—
Old Birnam Wood and Dunsinane?

He heard a fowl flap overhead.
He shot an arrow in the air—
(A line Longfellow wrote instead.)
He missed but didn’t really care.

There were no fouls in hunting then—
And only birds could foul a nest.
Macbeth would find a fouler sin—
At sinning he would be the best.

His fowling was not going well—
And Birnam Wood now seemed to move—
So he raced home to certain Hell.
He was corrupt—could not improve.

It was not long before Macduff
Removed that head so purely foul,
And Shakespeare, who had words enough,
Would write about the witches’ howl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sound and Sense, 74


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. fore (adj.): toward the front part of a boat, ship, or airplane (interjection): the warning cry of a golfer
2. four (noun and adj.): the number between 3 and 5 (as if you didn’t know)

The alien who landed on
The 14th (such a lovely green)
Had little time to dwell upon
What all these English words can mean.

He had four heads—a dozen eyes.
And countless slimy legs (what for?),
But he received a grand surprise
That shook him to his very core.

He heard a sound (a guy called “Fore!”),
The alien, surprised, just froze.
He did not know much human lore,
He knew not what a golfer knows,

For he, you know, was alien
From far away in outer space;
He’d come to earth to have some fun—
He'd heard it was a happenin’ place.

And then he learned the meaning of
That cry of “Fore!” that he had heard.
A ball then bonked him from above,
And then he heard a little bird

That cheeped and chirped inside his head,
So he fired up his UFO—
And dripped some goo (oh, yes, he bled)—
And flew as fast as he could go.

And when he landed back at home,
His friends were asking (with much mirth):
“How was their Paris? And their Rome?”
He said, “Don’t ever go to Earth!”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sound and Sense, 73


SOUND AND SENSE:
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. flour (noun): powder made from grain (verb): to cover something with flour
2. flower (noun): the part of a plant that is often brightly colored; to produce flowers (verb): to grow or develop in a successful way

He worked with flour all his life—
A baker (with a baker’s wife).

His floured floors revealed his art—
Though cleaning up was not his part.

His wife loved flowers—every kind.
And bought each type that she could find.

And so their love just flowered—till
His wife had really had her fill

Of cleaning flour from the floor.
She left a note: “I can’t take more!

I'm sick of all this cleaning up!”
And so the baker bought a pup,

A creature kind—he named it Clay.
It licked the floors up, every day.

The wife had met a florist (hot)—
So spouses got what they had sought.

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.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sound and Sense, 71



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. flair (noun): a natural ability to do something; an unusual or appealing quality or style
2. flare (noun): a light that shines brightly and briefly; a sudden expression of anger (verb): to shine or burn suddenly and briefly; to become suddenly excite, angry, or active

I felt a flare of anger when
I saw my older brother, Ben,
Be somewhere he should not have been.

Oh, Ben had lots of flair, no doubt,
But I knew what he was about—
And that caused me to brood and pout.

I’d seen his eyes, had seen  them flare
When he encountered that girl Claire.
And soon I felt just pure despair.

For Claire, you see, had been with me,
And now she wanted to be free—
To be with Ben—so plain to see.

I flared with pure volcanic rage—
I had to exit from Claire’s stage;
The time had come to turn the page.

But Ben's affection soon was slack—
He asked me if I’d take her back.
I laughed so hard I heard it crack—

My heart, that is, my fractured heart.
For years from them I’ve stayed apart.
And am convinced we can’t restart.


(Sad, eh?)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sound and Sense, 70


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. feat (noun): accomplishment
2. feet (noun): plural of foot

“Now, Mr. Shakespeare—quite a feat
To write a line with just five feet

Poetic feet, of course.” The Bard
Just smiled. For him, it wasn’t hard

To write pentameter. It flowed
From him like water. Then it glowed.

But hearing praise, he took his seat
And stared (so modest!) at his feet,

Was lost in thought (I can explain)
About a play—a moody Dane.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sound and Sense, 69


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. fated (adj.): certain or destined to do something
2. feted (adj.): celebrated, honored  (verb): past tense of fete (celebrate)

They feted Fred at work that day—
Retirement (with retirement pay!).

He felt so honored with their words
That flew at him like bothered birds.

But Fred was fated (sad to tell)
To hear an early funeral bell.

He didn’t hear it, actually—
That’s not a possibility,

For when they rang, our fragile Fred
Was really quite entirely dead.

St. Peter waved old Fred on through
(The Saint had other work to do),

And munching on some well-poached carp,
Fred learned that he could play the harp!

He wasn’t all that musical,
So nearby angels felt the pull

Of travel—to another spot
Where Fred the harpist, well, was not.

He had a lot to learn, you see—
But now he had eternity!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sound and Sense, 68


SOUND AND SENSE:
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. faint (verb): to lose consciousness (noun): the loss of consciousness  (adj.): not clearly sensed
2. feint (verb): to pretend to make a move to fool an opponent (noun): a quick move that you make to trick an opponent

He felt that he was feeling faint
A looked to find a place to sit.
But this museum (which was so quaint)
Lacked any chairs that looked too fit.

A docent then approached him, said
“Oh, sir, you don’t look very well!”
Then feinted—punch upside the head—
And laughed and said, “Oh, I can tell

You used to box. Let’s go a few?”
I barely heard his words (faint speech)—
And wasn’t sure I wanted to—
But his fat nose was in my reach,

And so I decked him. On the floor!
“He fainted!” I told those who came
To see what they could not ignore.
“Oh, all in fun—a kind of game.”

But something made them disbelieve—
It was a Red-Sea sort of flood
That made so many of them grieve,
A sea comprising that dude’s blood.