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Poem on neologisms
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:09
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Oct 19, 2007

At a poetry group meeting I attended this afternoon, someone read this poem. I thought it might be appreciated here.

Listen to the Words

(a "fully interactive poetry experience" for John Lucas at 70)

"I-pod" is a hideous word,
While "mobile phone" although euphonious,
Chirps from its ambulant nest like a digital bird.
As for the razz-ma-tazda of TESCO and ASDA,
For an epithet that doesn't sound erroneous,

Precisely what does "interactive" mean?
Just being friendly? Or something more obscene?
"Should I "download" the message I'm "text'd"?
Is making love the same as "having sex"?
The verb "to party" isn't quite the same
As putting your manners on and going to one.
No, "partying" is an "innovative" game,
Like virtual food, or vandals having fun.

"To be honest", and speaking my mind,
"Dear John", my guess is that "at this point in time",
English is leaving you and me behind.
Do you know how to teach a sound to bite?
Do I go surfing through the Net at night?
Lacking "promotional strategies", I'm afraid,
Will hardly make the canon's hit parade.

Still appearing "live" at seventy has
A tingling, clear, unsponsored compensation,
Like fugue motifs in Bach, like flowering jazz,
Those pleasant lines of language, free of fashion,
Reach to your deepest layer and won't let go.
There, every minute tells you lightly, gently,
The still sad music of humanity
Ia all we know, and all we need to know.

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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:09
Spanish to English
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Thanks for sharing this. Oct 19, 2007

Jack, thanks for making us part of your poetry reading! Ah, the simple joys of human communication, how easily they slip away at times!

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
Lite reading... Oct 19, 2007

Thanks for sharing, Jack.

I particularly like the line: 'do you know how to teach a sound to bite?' and the sound of the word 'ACRONYMONIOUS'.

As a non-native speaker, I'm sure I'm missing a lot of details, but even so, I enjoyed the reading.

Have a good weekend!

[Edited at 2007-10-19 17:29]

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Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
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Brilliant!! Oct 19, 2007

Thanks for sharing.

It is very creative.

Best regards from Mexico City,


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:09
German to English
Bertie Ramsbottom Oct 19, 2007

Dear Jack, inspired by your post, I did a search in Google for "poems corporate jargon" and found this little gem:

The Medium is the Message

The more the media expand
The less we seem to understand;
The more the information flow,
The less we seem to think or know;
The more the messages we send,
The less we seem to comprehend;
Communication rules, OK!
Although there's nothing much to say.
The future's Internet and cable,
Computers on the kitchen table,
With instant data through the night
On VDU by satellite;
Let your fingers do the walking,
For who needs dialogue and talking?
Modems in the bedroom presage
The age when media are the message.
With real-time access on the wall,
Who needs much power of speech at all?
And touch to activate retrieval
Makes words peripherally evil.
At last our progeny are freed
From all that need to write and read,
Delivered from the old, absurd
Tyranny of book and word.
Nor need there be much future cause
For risking it beyond the doors,
When Mum can dial beef and mutton
By "Choose" code on the access button;
When Dad can sit at home and sell,
By hook-up on his Intertel.
And even Johnny's need to know
Is game-boyed for his video.
The more the images we screen
The less the message comes to mean;
The more the plethora of data,
The less the meaning seems to matter.
Maybe it's time to bequeath a
Bit less traffic on the ether,
For future ages to regain
Some space for nourishing the brain.

- Bertie Ramsbottom

Bertie Ramsbottom is the pen-name of Ralph Windle.

[Edited at 2007-10-19 18:24]

[Edited at 2007-10-19 18:31]

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:09
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Thanks, Kim Oct 19, 2007

...for the "Bertie Ramsbottom" poem. Yes, it's all developing quite rapidly, isn't it? At the same poetry meeting, I read this one of my own, written originally in 2000, upgraded in 2004 and upgraded again last week, so this is Version 3.0.


Long, long ago, in ancient times, in 1991,
I bought my first computer and was pleased with what I'd done.
My Amstrad 1640 now enabled me to start
"Word processing", which up to then had been an unknown art.
Corrections could be made on screen before I printed out,
And paragraphs within my work could now be moved about.

Word processing went on from there and reached another stage,
When "What You See is What You Get" showed how it looked on page.
My Amstrad wasn't brilliant with Word Perfect Five Point One.
It coped, but now it seemed a chore, where once it had been fun.

And so I got a Three-Eight-Six to put affairs to rights.
Its hard disc memory contained two hundred Megabytes,
Which was enough to get me into Microsoft's new heaven,
Where icons could be clicked upon in Windows Three-Eleven.
And then there came the Internet, another dawning age.
It took me twenty minutes just to load a single page!

My next one was a Pentium, my fortunes to revive.
This one was good enough to cope with Windows Ninety-Five.
It was a great improvement, the neatest version yet,
And now at last I had my chance to reach the Internet.
To do that more efficiently, and at a faster rate,
I thought I would upgrade once more, to Windows Ninety-Eight.

The Pentium could handle this, it served for quite a while,
But programs still increased in size, to give more class and style.
I added Word 2000, and Uninstaller Six,
Of great size and complexity, they did fantastic tricks -
But did them sluggishly, because the Pentium was slow.
It was well past its sell-by date, and so it had to go.

The next one was more powerful, with massive memory.
Its Windows was Millennium, known better as M-E.
It handled all my programs and could cope with many more.
I loved it - for about three years, or was it maybe four?
And then it crashed and crashed again, a dozen times a day.
My Word files got corrupted or just simply went away.
It wouldn't let me load things, it drove me round the bend.
I felt I must replace it, and did so in the end.

The latest one's more powerful still, with XP Home Edition,
Which took some getting used to, but I'm now in the position
Of feeling I can cope with it without too much ado.
And yet the time will come again when I'll need something new.
The programs get more complex still, more progress yet awaits,
For Microsoft must still increase the fortune of Bill Gates.
So Windows Vista’s now the one that comes with your computer.
It’s very big and complex, you will really need a tutor.

For now, I’m sticking to XP, with that I still can cope,
And shall do for a few more years, at least, that’s what I hope.
Now my computer has two screens, a good idea, I reckoned.
I put the job on one screen and translate it on the second.
But some day I’ll upgrade again, and so it will proceed,
For bytes build up to kilobytes to meet our growing need,
And kilobytes have Megabytes upon their backs to bite 'em,
And Megabytes have Gigabytes, and so ad infinitum!

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
Dutch to English
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Brilliant, Jack Oct 20, 2007

Really enjoyed these, especially yours - thanks!


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