Ode to the Semicolon
By Tony Noland
The simple thoughts of children need only simple punctuation,
A sentence with one verb, one noun, for every situation.
“I want a cookie.” “She hit me!” “When are we going to eat?”
These subject/object pairings up express these thoughts complete.
As we mature, our thoughts do too, become harder to express.
Complexity increases, stacked more and more, not less.
“Optic blasts are awesome, but adamantium claws are better.”
“Should I call up Mary Lou, or send an e.mail letter?”
Related concepts bloom within, so quickly they do roll on,
To show they’re separate (but connected), apply the semicolon.
The sentences could stand apart, but linking them together
Allows the thought to seamlessly express itself much better.
“We danced all night; it was divine.” describes one case in point.
The first and second halves of which each other do anoint.
“We danced all night. It was divine.” How choppy and how stilted!
Without the semicolon how the narrative gets wilted!
Conditional or adverse, it supports concept relations;
O semicolon, praise we all, the best of all notations!
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Note: This poem appeared in the September 23, 2009 edition of the Grammar Girl newsletter, in celebration of National Punctuation Day, 2009. Any of you modernists who says that the use of semicolons is an affectation of overstylized writing had better goddamn well not say it in front of me.
Note #2: It's funnier if you read it out loud.
Note #3: Better yet, let me read it out loud to you. We can both laugh.
Help keep the words flowing.