John Carter Brown


Spelling - Poem by John Carter Brown

I'm fascinated by the way
Our language comes unstuck,
When all the rules of spelling
Look as though they've run amok.

You wouldn't BOUGH to an audience,
Or swing from the BOW of a tree;
No wonder it's hard for foreigners:
It's hard for you and me!

When looking for admittance
We don't K-nock on doors;
We knock, the K is silent,
Just like the G in gnaws.

And people, places or things, to me
Were always known as nouns;
I find it odd that ladies then,
Don't sleep in their night-GOUNS.

Word endings are no better,
Just take for instance blue;
Why not EW? I ask you now
We don't eat Irish STUE.

And double letters easily
Can set your brain a-spinning;
We put one N in losing,
And then put two in winning.

'I before E, except after C'
Was taught for years in schools;
But NEITHER VEIL nor VEIN are BEING
Obedient to the rules.

With all these contradictions
And gross anomalies,
I think I'll give up English,
And try to learn Chinese!

Written Oct 1994


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Poem about the inconsistencies of our language.

Comments about Spelling by John Carter Brown

  • Simon Gowen (2/14/2013 8:08:00 AM)


    I wood love to claim this as won of my own. Nice obzer...obbs...well thought out. (Report) Reply

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  • (9/22/2012 5:13:00 AM)


    haha i really liked this! (Report) Reply

  • Heather Wilson (8/16/2012 5:37:00 PM)


    We need to take a K- nife to our language at times to sort it. I`ve never attempted Chinese, I`m still having enough trouble with English. a brilliant poem, well thought out. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 16, 2012

Poem Edited: Tuesday, August 21, 2012


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