Save the words!
Preamble: this is a slam poem and probably works better aloud. I'll try to make a video one day.
I’m here today to speak to you about something of great importance:
We have to save the words!
Dozens of words each day are being lost
We cannot underestimate the intellectual cost
As their natural habitats become corrupted
And their reproductive patterns are being disrupted
Words are essential to successful communication
But they are being driven out by emojis and silly little animations.
For example…the other day, I was typing on my phone
And the predictive text tool, instead of the word “cake”
Offered a little picture of a slice of cake
But I didn’t want to draw “cake”, I wanted to write”cake”
I was talking about lemon cake, not cartoon cream cake
It wasn’t even the right sort of cake
There’s a reason it’s called a TEXT message for goodness’ sake!
And if your phone doesn’t have the latest 3 million emojis uploaded
Chances are your message will look like some kind of warped morse code
A friend sent me a mini picture of an elephant – or so she told me
But as my phone’s more than 5 minutes old, none of the latest thingumys installed
The message showed me … nothing at all.
But then perhaps that’s for the best, because I’d have been wondering –
What was the elephant trying to say?
Is she suggesting I’m fat? I’m heavy? I’m grey? I’m slow?
(Although elephants can move pretty fast, I know)
Was it an intertextual reference to Hannibal? The Jungle Book? Dumbo?
Or was it just a cute picture in an attempt to brighten my day?
Now it seems we’ve all become artists of the dots and dashes,
The colons, semicolons, hyphens, for-and –back slashes
I get it: colon, hyphen, close-bracket: smiley face :-)
Colon, hyphen, open-bracket: sad face :-(
Blow a raspberry using the letter “P” :-p
And it seems we can no longer use irony
Without relying on a semicolon to do our winking for us
To show we are being tongue-in-cheek. ;-)
But if an image can speak a thousand words
best make sure they’re the right ones
And that applies just as much for emojis and emoticons
Same friend sent me “angle bracket, number 3” <3 – I really did feel silly
She had to tell me it was a bunch of flowers
To me it looked like a ****y.
Anyway, while we’re fighting for the words
We must also defend the spaces between them
These web addresses and hashtags are all very well
But I’m a person, not a machine!
I need to see my writing breathe,
I think they are just trying to confuse us
With all this www.runthewordstogether.com
So we’ve got try to keep our language clear and precise
Or the writers of the future will pay the ultimate price.
I’m told to get with the times, it’s just linguistic evolution
But to me it seems more like catastrophic verbal pollution.
Only when the last word has been forgotten, and the last grammar rule broken
Only then will we realise that punctuation cannot be spoken...
So, if you care for the written word, sign up for linguistic duty
And do not forget our alphabets are tools of creative beauty
We must rally to the verbal cause and join the wordy fight
Against the graphics and hyrogliphics, to defend our rights to write.
So here today, I have to say, this is my plea to you:
Poets, to your pens: you have a job to do.