Herewith a poem (and following note) from my book Songs of Love and Grammar, which will be forthcoming if and when I find a publisher or give up and publish it myself with an on-demand web publisher [EDIT: buy it at lulu.com]. The poem is about eggcorns. What are they? Read on…
My veil of tears
Oh, woeth me! I’ve fallen hard,
hosted by my own petard!
In one fowl swoop, my just desserts
have been served up – and, boy, it hurts!
I have betrayed my love, but plead
compulsion by deep-seeded need!
Whole-scale short-sided wrecklessness
has got me in an awful mess.
My Jane was straight-laced; I was cursed,
chalk-full of need to slack my thirst.
Although our lives were going fine,
I just couldn’t tow the line.
When on a small site-seeing tour,
I took a pretty southmore’s lure:
jar-dropping beauty, looks to kill –
with baited breath I stood stalk still.
“I have a view that’s quite unique,”
she said. “Let’s go and sneak a peak.”
Why did I heed her beckon call?
Free reign of passions leads to fall,
but what I thought led straight to hell:
“She’ll tie me over – my as well!”
We didn’t buy our time that night;
we cut straight to the cheese on sight –
I won’t mix words: our will to dare
just grew like top seed then and there.
As if possessed of slight of hand,
in never regions we did land
(to name a view would be too course
and put the cat before the horse).
When all was done, I had the sense
I’d face cognitive dissidence,
but thought I’d pawn off bold-faced lies.
At last I had to realize
my power mower was not one-of
when I got news that caused my love –
a note a few months later: “Soon your
southmore will produce a junior.”
I got a mindgrain; I could see
a storm in the offering for me.
My Jane was cued in, bye and bye,
and she raised up a human cry
in a high dungeon. “You’ve done wrongs!
Let’s go at it, hammer and thongs!
The chickens have come home to roast!
I won’t lie doormat now! Your toast!”
She caused a raucous with abuse
and anger I could not diffuse.
Her words were nasty – so profound,
my vocal chords can’t make the sound.
She was a bowl in a china shop,
beyond the pail. I said, “Please stop!
The dye is cast! It’s not the place
to cut off your nose despite your face!
Don’t get your nipples in a twist!
You give me short shift! I insist
I’m utterly beyond approach!
Don’t treat me like a mere cockroach!”
She cried, “My cause for consternation
is not a pigment of the imagination!
There’s a bi-product of your lust!
Get out! You fill me with disgust!”
The point was mute; my chance was past,
so I gave up the goat at last.
Fate accompli, forgotten conclusion –
my morays were my dissolution.
And so, without further adieu,
here’s some advice that’s trite and true:
It would be who of you to trust your gut;
nip wayward passions in the butt.
Don’t sow your wild oaks around –
the eggcorns might just bring you down.
An eggcorn is a misconstrual of a word or phrase on the basis of an inaccurate (but seemingly sensible) analysis of its parts or origins. It uses other existing words or word parts in place of the originals. The term eggcorn is of course one such – the word should be acorn. The six dozen eggcorns in this poem have all been observed “in the wild” – used by real people in earnest, not as jokes (see eggcorns.lascribe.net). The eggcorns (and their proper forms) are veil of tears (vale of tears), woeth me (woe is me), hosted by my own petard (hoist with my own petard), one fowl swoop (one fell swoop), just desserts (just deserts), deep-seeded (deep-seated), whole-scale (wholesale), short-sided (short-sighted), wrecklessness (recklessness), straight-laced (strait-laced), chalk-full (chock full), slack my thirst (slake my thirst), tow the line (toe the line), site-seeing (sightseeing), southmore (sophomore), jar-dropping (jaw-dropping), baited breath (bated breath), stalk still (stock still), sneak a peak (sneak a peek), beckon call (beck and call), free reign (free rein), tie me over (tide me over), my as well (might as well), buy our time (bide our time), cut to the cheese (cut to the chase), mix words (mince words), grew like top seed (grew like Topsy), slight of hand (sleight of hand), never regions (nether regions), to name a view (to name a few), course (coarse), put the cat before the horse (put the cart before the horse), cognitive dissidence (cognitive dissonance), pawn off (palm off), bold-faced lies (bald-faced lies), power mower (paramour), one-of (one-off), caused (cost), mindgrain (migraine), in the offering (in the offing), cued in (clued in), bye and bye (by and by), human cry (hue and cry), high dungeon (high dudgeon), hammer and thongs (hammer and tongs), come home to roast (come home to roost), lie doormat (lie dormant), your toast (you’re toast), a raucous (a ruckus), diffuse (defuse), profound (profane), vocal chords (vocal cords), bowl in a china shop (bull in a china shop), beyond the pail (beyond the pale), the dye is cast (the die is cast), cut off your nose despite your face (cut off your nose to spite your face), don’t get your nipples in a twist (don’t get your knickers in a twist), short shift (short shrift), beyond approach (beyond reproach), a pigment of the imagination (a figment of the imagination), bi-product (by-product), the point was mute (the point was moot), gave up the goat (gave up the ghost), fate accompli (fait accompli), forgotten conclusion (foregone conclusion), morays (mores), without further adieu (without further ado), trite and true (tried and true), be who of you (behoove you), nip in the butt (nip in the bud), sow your wild oaks (sow your wild oats), and of course eggcorns (acorns).
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You have published it, actually: publish means ‘make available to the public.
Yes, I have published this poem on my website, but I will be publishing the book with an on-demand web publisher. The appositive clause (“which will be forthcoming…”) modified the most proximate noun phrase (“my book Songs of Love and Grammar“). So my assertion was about the whole book… And anyway, even if the whole book had been published here, I still would not be wrong in saying I was going to publish it in print; saying so does not actually entail its being unpublished in any other form.
This gives me the opportunity to mention (as I just did above) that I will be coming out with the book using a web publisher, as regular publishers and agents have consistently said they like it quite a bit but don’t know what to do with it. I had originally been intending to have it available for Christmas, but I’m still awaiting the completion of the illustrations, and it’s been a very busy fall for me, too. So I’m aiming for the spring…
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At long last, it is available! Buy your copy at http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-harbeck/songs-of-love-and-grammar/paperback/product-20080621.html
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Speaking as an eggcornista, editor at the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, and multiple award winning writer of short humor, my hat is off to you, sir (or madam?). This is an exquisite work of language play!
Just saw this on FB:
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