Birthday poem

rogersgeorge on April 27th, 2012

Today is my dear sweet wife’s birthday. This being a writing site, I suppose I’ll write a poem for her.

I’ve known her for a decade and a half
I think that she’s a witch because I know
She’s just as gorgeous now as when we met
And still my heart is captive to her charm

I can’t escape; I haven’t even tried
The very thought of looking somewhere else
Repels me like a fox repels a hare
I really want to feel her close at hand

Two quatrains of blank iambic pentameter. Much too stiff. I need something a little more casual and friendly.

My wife is cute
She’s such a hoot
She likes to snuggle, too
She’s such a dear
’cause when she’s near,
She also likes to–

Nah, too casual. Gotta be something I can recite in public. Maybe a ballad form. Quatrains of iambic tetrameter, AABB rhyme scheme.

I like my wife, she’s nice to me
She feeds me supper faithfully
Her birthday’s coming soon I hear
What gift to get my wife so dear?

I know! I’ll take her out to eat
I think she’ll think that that’s a treat
I’ll tell her “Get what’er you wish
And you won’t have to wash a dish!”

Better, but not very lovey-dovey. Can I put together something a little more romantic?

You make me think of flowers, dear.
They’re always lovely every year.
You’re like the stars, those gems of light,
You light my life and make it bright.
You’re like a book I like to read—
I never know where the plot will lead.
You make me happy as a clam,
I married you, and glad I am!

Think that’ll do? Just in case, wish her a happy birthday in the comments, okay?

And here’s a picture of her:

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Slogan writing

rogersgeorge on February 16th, 2012

Most of the time The Writing Rag is about expository writing—writing to communicate information in a manner that causes the least amount of effort for your readers. One of my rules of thumb is that if your reader has trouble understanding, the problem is with the writing, not the reader. Business letters, instructions, technical writing, essays, and (in my opinion) good journalism fall into this type of writing.

Other useful kinds of writing exist, whose intent might be to amuse, inspire, motivate (cause action), persuade (cause belief), or cause any number of other effects in a reader. To accomplish these, someone might use poetry, short stories, novels, riddles, essays. You name the genre, the writer has a reason for exposing a reader to it. Obviously some writing formats fit into more than one purpose—blog posts, for example.

For completeness, I should remind you that sometimes the writer is the reader, and the purpose might be to clarify thinking, record events, or express feelings. For these purposes we have notes, journals, diaries.

One kind of writing has the goal of creating a mindset in the reader. This type of writing is the slogan. I am tempted to give a bunch of examples, but I’d rather let you suggest a few of your favorites in the comments.

A famous slogan: Do a good turn daily.

That one was suggested by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. I’m not going to tell you how to write an original slogan, but if you have a nicely codified way to write one, please share with all of us in the comments.

Instead, I must cop out. I found a website that creates a slogan for you. Type in something, click the button, and you get a slogan.  Here’s the link. Go play with it. http://thesurrealist.co.uk/slogan.cgi. They even give you a snippet of code so you can put a slogan you like on your website, with a link to their site, of course. Here’s my favorite, so far:

Because So Much Is Riding On Your Grammar.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more grammar slogans.

After trying a few, I figured out that they plug your word into a selection of existing slogans, some well-known, and sometimes with amusing results. How about

You’re in the Grammar Generation!

My apologies to that carbonated sugar water.

I suppose that’s one way to create a slogan: Take a popular meme and plug your own words into it. Some of my colleagues told me about the most interesting man in the world recently, mainly because I had never heard of him and I look like his brother. So I’ll offer his meme for a slogan base:

I don’t often write letters to the president, but when I do, I use good grammar.

My third invitation to comment: What can you come up with? Share.

Poem rejected

rogersgeorge on December 14th, 2011

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our ninth anniversary of wedded bliss. We have a tradition that I write her a poem every year to celebrate. For your amusement, here is a quatrain I wrote, then rejected.

A nine-year party, now who’d’a thunk it?
With me so old, that’s quite a junket
‘Cause she’s a young, good lookin’, chick,
At least she likes my manly oops

(You didn’t think I’d really write that, did you?) The one she got was much nicer and more romantic, and I set it in an old-fashioned font (small x-height) nicely formatted on a page. She has a picture frame in her office where she puts the most recent poem. The bad poem, above, is a quatrain consisting of four accentual feet each, rhyme scheme AABB. The good poem, which I’m not sharing unless my wife asks me to, contains four couplets, each consisting of a double dactyl and a molossus. (Look it up. They’re not supposed to exist in English poetry, but I can do ’em.)

Update: Not only does my wife want me to post the “good” poem, but she wrote me one! so if you can stand all the sentimental treacle, here are two more poems. Mine first:

Year nine

Valerie George is my
Dear sweet wife.
Hug her and kiss her my
Whole sweet life.
Tease me and please me my
Whole life long,
Mess me or bless me, my
Life a song.

Just so you know: Four couplets, each consisting of a double dactyl and a molossus.

She said the footnote was very me. (I should add that I read her to sleep every night when I’m home.) Here’s her poetic reply:

Read to me
All my days
Of Science and farming
And kids and their ways.
Your voice fills my mind
With beautiful phrases.
Whether couplets or dactyls
To me it amazes
The love of my life
Gives the gift of his voice
Reassuring to me that I made a wise choice!
The sound of my love fulfills all my wishes,
The only thing sweeter…one of his kisses.

You might be wondering what we look like. Here’s a picture of us.

Valerie and her curmudgeon