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

hashtag #spacebarsareforlosers…


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.

emoticonslanguageslam poetry

◄ My first-born

Keep moving ►


Big Sal

Sat 8th Dec 2018 12:12

I feel the exact same way when I hear rap and then read the words to the song. It's like they're actively making a choice to be subpar where they could excel at any time.

(P.S. Becky, prayer hands are not a chubby face!!!)


Project that emotion, Becky, and make every line speak for itself. In time, you'll be yelling through the microphone for every word that latches on the tongue, and your passion will come full circle while performing. On a side note, you do anymore YouTube videos lately? I've been working on board games the past few weeks so all I've been doing on WOL is posting poems and the occasional comment.

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Becky Who

Sat 8th Dec 2018 10:28

Thanks guys!

I used to think "LOL" meant "lots of laughs" not "laugh out loud"... a student corrected me. But "Lots of love" seems much more plausible.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 7th Dec 2018 15:21

That's a lot about a little. But words fail me except to say -
I envy the tenacity
Of your evident loquacity.
This would surely be all the rage
If performed upon the stage.

<Deleted User> (19913)

Fri 7th Dec 2018 11:20

Wow, I'm in awe Becky!

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Alan Travis Braddock

Fri 7th Dec 2018 10:52

Here bloody here !! (Or do I mean hear...hear?)
AND While we're at it let's keep the subjunctive and have the next person who says 'was' instead of 'were' tied to a post and teased by trained bluebottles.***
(From my future book " If I were a real person"...."
*** More pedantic cr*p :- "was" in the above means "used to be" whereas "were" means or implies "... but I'm not".

PS I thought that lol meant laugh out loud or am I just an old hasbeen - ( which is better than a neverwas) anyhow?

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Taylor Crowshaw

Fri 7th Dec 2018 10:48

Brilliant poem Becky, interesting and unique. I love your work and your message.
Brian I too thought Lol was lots of love until my fifteen year old daughter corrected me. Lol 😂

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Brian Maryon

Fri 7th Dec 2018 08:45

Good one Becky.

It has its place however in small doses. For example, the use of 'lol' is quite effective, though until recently my wife used it extensively but she thought it meant 'lots of love'. (Perhaps that proves your point Becky.)


Fri 7th Dec 2018 08:29

Woop! woop! Lets hear it for the poets!

… "And do not forget our alphabets are tools of creative beauty"

Says it all!

N.L.P. can help in poetry, especially in a slam...

Please do not think I chastise here...

In the spoken word, that line above that you wrote Becky

REMEMBER (pause) our alphabets are tools of creative beauty.

When I am going down the shop to buy milk, if Pat says "don't forget the milk", that is the one thing I forget!
If Pat says " Remember the milk, I always do!

I will remember this poem, I love it.

Words are weapons of war!

Great job!


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