Did you know that Rattle has started a new feature? It is called Poets Respond. Every Sunday they publish one poem online that has been written about a current event that took place the previous week. "This is an effort to show how poets react and interact to the world in real time, and to enter into the broader public discourse." I think that is an excellent idea.
Several have been posted so far and I simply love After the Memorial by Megan Collins. You don't want to miss this one. READ IT NOW.
Today I came across this article about a man being fired for writing a post about homophones. I was horrified. Having taught EFL, I know the importance of clarifying the different meanings and spellings of homophones. Teaching them is a must. Even more shocking is the fact that the owner of the language school had to look up the meaning of homophone. Really?!!!!! I am not sure where he was educated, but I do remember learning about them in my school....in the third grade!
No. Homophones have nothing to do with sexual orientation, and saying that posting about them on a language learning site is "inappropriate" is like telling a swim instructor that he cannot call the breast stroke the breast stroke because it uses the bumpy B word and people might think you advocate topless sun bathing. It's like not allowing a teuthologist to talk about the tentacles of an octopus, because some moron might confuse it with testicles.
The breast stroke is the breast stroke and can't be called anything else. The tentacles of an octopus are tentacles and aren't called anything else. And guess what? Homophones are homophones and nothing else.
Thinking about this gave me a great idea for a haibun (you know how I love haibun), and I decided to sit down and write it for Rattle. However, you know how that funny bone sort of does a sneak attack on me from time to time? Well, my beautiful and clever haibun never saw the light of day, and this silly little rhyme in the form of a epistle came shooting out of my finger tips and onto the screen. Rattle features awesome work, and this silly rhyme (which is written on a 4th grade level...oh, my mentality at times) will certainly not be qualified enough to grace their pages (or screen), but since one of my readers might need a laugh, I am sharing it with you.
An Epistle for Clark Woodger
Deer Mr. Woodger,
Eye am a cereal misspeller
and I don't no what two due;
my school didn't teach hire skills
so I just don't have a clue.
Eye wood like to get a job
so I won't always bee pour
but know matter how eye try
I can't get my foot in the door.
Now Ide like to brake into righting
since I can due that from home
and take my work with me
wear ever I may Rome.
But sum tell me it's a waist
of thyme when eye cannot spell,
They say isle never make a prophet
'cause the books will never cell.
No one wants to reed a tale
when the words are knot spelled write,
but spelling isn't like won plus won;
spelling isn't all black and white.
You sea, even though eye worked hard
and this letter hear is spell-checked,
my deer friend, Mr. Torkildson, claims
properly-spelled words aren't always correct.
He said he understand my dilemma,
because English doesn't always make cents.
“Homophones can be confusing,”
he kindly said in my defense.
He posted about them on the web sight
to help people every wear.
Because he did it yew fired him.
This dismissal simply is knot fare.
Know instructor introducing homophones
should ever lose his position
just because the owner of the language
school doesn't no the definition
and worries the word will be misinterpreted
and make the school sound pro-gay.
Would you rather have your language learners
end up spelling this weigh?
No. It is not literary genius, but I hope you got a laugh out of it (even though homophones are some very serious stuff.) :-)
The deadline for submitting to Rattle's "Poets Respond" is midnight PST every Friday so you still have time to pen something and send it in. If not, there's always next week.