Letter-Perfect Verse

—Richard Lederer—

[first published in Word Wizard ]

          Now hear the music of some letter-perfect verse, with many words composed entirely of letter sounds. Keep in mind that the same letter twice in a row sounds like a plural. For example, II means "eyes."

Is EZ to C
U should B called

I NV how U
XL with EE.

Why you are wise
Is easy to see.
You should be called

You exceed any
Empty tease.
I envy how you
Excel with ease.

          What do you call a naked grizzly? A bare bear. And what do you call a pony with a sore throat? A hoarse horse. Homophones are clusters of words that are each spelled differently but that sound exactly the same.

          Hears a rye peace eye maid up inn my idol thyme. Aye rote it four yew two sea Howe homophones Cannes seam sew whiled from there knows write too they're tows. With pried, eye no it will knot boar ewe. Its meant two bee red allowed:

A Bazaar Tail

One night a knight on a hoarse horse
   Rode out upon a road.
This male wore mail for war and would
   Explore a wood that glowed.

His tale I'll tell from head to tail.
   I'll write his rite up right.
A hidden site our hero found,
   A sight that I shall cite.

With woe he shouted, "Whoa!" as rain
   Without a break did reign.
To brake, he pulled the rein, and like
   A shattered pane, felt pain.

The poor knight met a witch, which made
   Sweat pour from every pore.
He'd never seen a scene like that.
   His sore heart couldn't soar.

Then they a game for truffles played,
   In which he mined her mind.
To prove who was the better bettor
   And find who should be fined.

He won one twice, he won two, too.
   To grate on her felt great.
To wrest the rest, he went for four,
   And, at the fore, ate eight.

Due to her loss, the mourning witch,
   'Midst morning mist and dew,
Her truffles missed. I know no way,
   Do I, to weigh her rue.

Our knight began to reel, for real.
   The world whirled, so to speak.
All the days of the week his sole soul felt
   The dizzy daze of the weak.

Our heir to knighthood gave it up.
   He felt the fare not fair.
His wholly holy sword soared up
   As he threw it through the air.

The bell has tolled, I'm told. The hour
   To end our tale draws nigh.
Without ado, I bid adieu,
   So by your leave, bye-bye.

          Often, the more demanding the restrictions, the more fun I have making a poem. I had an exhilarating time writing this little ditty, in which each of the eleven lines is composed of just the six letters in the name Daniel:

An idle
Ad line:
In deal
(i.e., land
In dale),
Led in a
And lie.

          In letter play, beheadment is the lopping off of the initial letters of a word. Gaze in wonder as, one at a time, the letters in prelate disappear from the front of the word:

The prelate did relate a tale
Meant to elate both you and me.
We stayed up late and ate our meal,
"Te Deum" sang in key of e.

[ website ]

Richard Lederer is the author of more than 30 books about language and humor, including his best-selling Anguished English series and his current book, Word Wizard. Dr. Lederer's syndicated column, "Looking at Language," appears in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.

He has been elected International Punster of the Year and been profiled in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, People, and the National Enquirer. He is language columnist for The Toastmaster, Pages, and the Farmers' Almanac and is Verbivore Emeritus on public radio's "A Way With Words."

content Copyright 2007, Richard Lederer—All Rights Reserved

images (original), "Blemmyae, or headless monster" and "Sciapodes"
[ from Hartman Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (1493) ]

image (edit), "Freaks" 2007, Darin C. Bradley—All Rights Reserved