WHERE ESSES LOOK LIKE EFFS

Standard

Time-stained leaves of parchment lie
crisp beneath plate glass, as tourists
press to read more clearly of the past:
the ledger of a pharmacist, a city declaration,
recipes and letters in old english hand

just hieroglyphs to the teenager
standing by, so absent, twiddling his thumbs.

Well, not twiddling, but texting, as it’s called–
the hands all thumbs in agitation
over a small, lighted, beeping capsule,
swiftly pressing discreet bumps, hoping
to connect with anyone but present company

who just don’t get it, fogies fixated
on cursive swirls of bygone thoughts.

Calligraphers pay fond attention
to the tops and tails of certain letters
such as bee and dee and pee and gee,
but laymen viewers of old manuscripts
might only notice oddities.  For instance

how those funny pothook esses
look for all the world like effs.

Thus if one reads in early writings
words like succour, succulent or suckling,
one might be distracted from their normal
uses by a bible, book of botany, or chef–
might giggle and pronounce them only mentally

so as not to rouse the texter from his play.
He likely wouldn’t get it anyway.

8 responses »

    • This morning–the first in three weeks of oppressive heat–it is sunny, clear, breezy, and the thought of a smile over a poem way across the pond…….it’s going to be a good day!

  1. I loved the poem. As we endure another heat wave, it’s good to begin it with a chuckle. I’m glad I grew up with cursive and all its beauty. Thank you Catholic School Nuns! Today, the young people , so nonchalant, just respond to me ” just print,” I don’t do cursive! C’est la vie. Eileen

  2. Thank you, Eileen…..and you write such wonderful cards and notes! Soon none of the young’uns will be able to read—nevermind write–a cursive hand. At least you’ll save on stamps! I really am on the brink of becoming ill with this weather….Hope you’re keeping cool, way down there in East Weymouth…….

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