David Mitchell

Rookie - 196 Points (20/12/1988 / Colchester)

Spelling Is Compelling? - Poem by David Mitchell

I turn the television on
And what abysmal hell
Pollutes the screen? What could it be
But Eamonn Holmes' Hard Spell?

It can't be fair, it seems to me,
When A must spell 'laparoscopy'
(Does such a word even exist?)
And B must spell 'balloon'.

How can you take two words like that,
And say they're equally hard,
And thus make one a winner,
And the other fate ill-starr'd?

From whence do they obtain these words,
This witenagemote?
And who are they to tell us how
To spell the words that float

In the ethereal vap'rous air,
Imponderable na,
When they canna deveese a fair
Set o' gemme ruiles at a'?

I do suspect they make them up,
Pretending they exist –
I'm not aware that 'na''s a rod,
But it's probably on their list

Of words they think are hard to spell,
Like 'apple' and 'breakwater',
'Electroencephalogram',
'Effacement' and 'stepdaughter'.

And then of course that woman
Who can't speak a single word
Derstuncly – no, DERSTUNCTLY;
For the CONSONANTS are heard.

Who would have thought orthography
Could really be compelling –
Who would have thought that aught could be
Excitinger than spelling?

(Thursday,29th December,2005.)


Comments about Spelling Is Compelling? by David Mitchell

  • (1/3/2006 8:45:00 AM)

    I thought this was so funny David! I have never watched the program you're talking about but..........it sounds horrible. I know I've seen normal spelling bees televised and I felt the same way! Great humor! Sincerely, Mary (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (12/30/2005 7:50:00 AM)

    Well, 'na' is certainly not a *rod*, but whether it is a *word* or not is a matter for the lexicographers at the OED... (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Ernestine Northover (12/29/2005 3:26:00 PM)

    Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! I have watched it once and YUCK! ! ! ! I agree it's abysmal, but I love your poem about it. A really great write, and I managed to get my tongue around all of it, odd words and all. Well done. Love Ernestine XXX (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 3 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Thursday, December 29, 2005

Poem Edited: Thursday, June 17, 2010


Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]