Ode to the Semicolon

NOTE: When I write, I love to use semicolons. I had joked about this enough with my students and with anybody else who would listen that one day I wrote the semicolon a love letter. Many thought I was weird and that my life was taking a particularly tragic tone, but soon my students started using semicolons more as well as actually considering how punctuation can impact tone and voice – once the pity and their sustained abuse had died down enough anyway…  


Ode to the Semicolon


O fair, sweet semicolon
Thou art as pretty
As two dots placed lovingly
On top of each other;
My affair with you is special
Verging on lustful when emotions run high;
Your soft and supple stroke gently within my language
Send grammatical shivers to my soul

I’ve never liked question mark
Poses too many problems
And exclamation mark?\
Far too loud!
Full stops are always trying to get the last word.
And speech marks are just two commas
“Put together” – no imagination

But you, my lovely function
My sultry and sexy symbol
My cornerstone construction
My rock;
You never stop a sentence
Or pose a problem
Or force words to be yelled in furious tones

You simply and subtly
Bring things together;
The dictionary says you act to “link two or more sentences”
But you give so much more than that;
You’ve united religions; armies
Slaves and kings; night and day
The Proud with the Meek;
Man and Woman;
And yet you ask for nothing
If grammatical constructs were flowers
I’d pick you;
I would write you every day.

O fairest, most alluring, most glorious semicolon;
Thou art as radiantly beautiful
As two magnificent dots
Placed lovingly on top of each other;
One slightly larger than the other
I love you



P.S: I realize that there is some irony about the misuse / overuse of said punctuation, and the lack of others, in the piece above – know this, gatekeepers of the language – a love as strong as this cannot be shackled by your formula or conventions … plus its always a pretty grey area in poetry anyway…



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