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Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: October 17, 2003 10:40AM

I'm told that Raymond Carver wrote, on average, 80% of his work in monosyllables; and that other modern writers tend to do the same although not to such an extent.

I've been trying to find poems - by Carver, by anybody - which are ENTIRELY monosyllabic - so far, with no success.

Can you think of one, chums?


Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: October 17, 2003 11:39AM

There once was a fan of the cubs
Who was hit with some rocks and some clubs
When he reached for a ball
That he should have let fall,
Now known as the worst of the flubs.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Colin (
Date: October 17, 2003 11:42PM

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain:
The day is gone and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live and now my life is done.

The spring is past and yet it hath not sprung,
The fruit is dead and yet the leaves are green,
My youth is gone and yet I am but young,
I saw the world and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut and yet it was not spun,
And now I live and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die and now I am but made:
The glass is full and now the glass is run,
And now I live and now my life is done.

Chidiock Tichborne (1558?-1586)

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: -Les- (
Date: October 18, 2003 12:09AM

The winner of the mouse pad in the shape of a Swanson's TV Dinner, in
the Washington Post's Style Invitational for any description of a
complex subject in words of one syllable.

Quantum physics:

This thing, it is not there nor here.
This thing of mine, it acts quite queer.
Launched at a screen with just one hole,
It's like a ball--A shot! A goal!
But if two holes I make quite wide,
Then as a wave, it through will glide.
The chance of hit or miss (in math)
Is wave height squared. On no one path
It moves, but all paths swift doth run.
I tell you true (I dont' make fun)
In sum, I'll say it in a trice:
Old Al was wrong, God DOES play dice.

(R. N. Oerter, Riverdale)

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: rayburnjane (
Date: October 18, 2003 12:50AM

Try this website:

This is an article on Laurence Minot (1333-1352) and his poems all in the monosyllabic form you are searching for. Hope this helps.


Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: ilza (200.162.245.---)
Date: October 18, 2003 06:25AM

a couple of poems ...

[] />
almost there ...

Fish story
Norman H Chance

Fish, Wish.
Bait, Wait.
Bite, Flight.
Roam, Home.
Buy, Lie.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: -Les- (
Date: October 19, 2003 08:45PM

Here's another one if you discount the intro:

We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks


We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Linda (
Date: October 20, 2003 06:42PM

How that poor lad is suffering!! And many, no doubt, consider rightly.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Linda (
Date: October 20, 2003 06:45PM

Ode to a fish

Oh wet,

Ogden Nash

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Talia (216.117.99.---)
Date: October 21, 2003 11:11AM

Has anyone ever thought Ogden Nash is a bit "imature?"

The Cow by Ogden Nash

The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk.

My Dream by Ogden Nash

This is my dream, It is my own dream, I dreamt it. I dreamt that my hair was kempt. Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

What's the use? by Ogden Nash

Sure, deck your limbs in pants,Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.You look divine as you advance . . .Have you seen yourself retreating?

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: October 21, 2003 01:14PM

One could say the same for Harry Graham, Robert Service or Hillaire Belloc, I am sure. I suspect he had a very active mind that provided him myriad ideas all the time, and he was simply trying to guess which ones people would find amusing. The fact that so many quotes have survived him tends to make me think he guessed right a lot of the time.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: Linda (
Date: October 21, 2003 05:29PM

Yes, and then I dismissed it.

Re: Monosyllables
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: October 22, 2003 04:04AM

Nash earned his living from poetry the way a cartoonist earns his living from art - today's poem was tomorrows fish and chip paper. It's called light verse, it was very fashionable in the first half of last century (Dorothy Parker was another exponent, though hers always had a sting in the tail)and rather looked down on for most of the second. John Betjamin wrote quite a lot of light verse and because of this his appointment as Poet Laureate was much criticised in literary circles. Ordinary people still think he was the best one since Tennyson. A lot of Nash's stuff is very well crafted and stands the test of time. Some of it is just a bit of fun and some he wrote on an off day. I love some of the stuff Talia posted above - perhaps I'm a bit immature!

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