Sidi J. Mahtrow


Emoticons Are Nothing New - Poem by Sidi J. Mahtrow

While much is made of the shorthand expression
Which can be had with few stroke impressions
The history of the art goes far beyond
The simple computer eon.

No, an emoticon can be found
In written works that astound
When searching for the 'picturesque'
Did the reverend Dr. Syntax speak.

Giving his respectful eulogy to a smoke
Either he or the publisher with some three stroke(s)
Did for posterity record a 'smiling face'
Which on page 115 did embrace
That which we have come to call
An 'emoticon' for one and all.
(Of course it could well have begun
When the typesetter in frivolous fun
Inserted characters; semicolon, dash and bracket close
For all to see his art in repose; -)

Seems the good doctor, reverend (too)
Had completed his most famous tour through England, old and new
And having sold the publishing rights
Gained his favorite chair and other delights.
While his wife of many a year
Provided him with food and good cheer.

He mused on the wonders of it all
As author, William Combe, did recall
Recorded his famous essay on the many pleasures
Available to man in his leisures.
And so it is written
On page 115, the book committen:

(Nor when that thought gay Lucian spoke,
He did not mean to crack a joke; -)

For you see as has been told
Dr. Syntax when he spoke was bold
And a fair tail he could spin
(Provided he had ample tobacco in)

He like Lucian traveled wide
To obtain material for the book; his pride
And having finished his quest
Was as Quixote, sought to rest.

Back with his faithful mare
Named Grizzle for her colour fair
Like Rozinante, who with the burdens of life
Met disaster, pain and strife.

While Rozinante's burdens are known to you,
Poor Grizzle lost her ears, and tail too.
For as she carried forth the doctor,
She paid the price for her wander.
Ventured into a pasture green
And there met a farmer, Oh so mean.
Gave up her ears and tail, her passion
As was the penalty in that season.

But this tale of men and horses
Has much to remind us of Nature's courses
As things thought to be unique
Are found to be commonplace to those who seek.
And such it is with 'emoticons'
That they've been around here for eons.

I leave you with the reverend's happy face
Which in parting is no disgrace; -)



nb Lucian was trained as a rhetorician, a vocation where one pleads in court, composing pleas for others, and teaching the art of pleading, but Lucian's practice was to travel about, giving amusing discourses and witty lectures improvised on the spot, somewhat as a rhapsode had done in declaiming poetry at an earlier period. In this way Lucian travelled through Ionia and mainland Greece, to Italy and even to Gaul, and won much wealth and fame. From Wikipedia.

Dr. Syntax, William Combe, Frederick Warne and Company,1878 (approx.) , pp 115, Bedford Street, Strand, London.


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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird



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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 5, 2007

Poem Edited: Thursday, January 27, 2011


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