Guest poem submitted by William Grey:
(Poem #1879) Windows is Shutting Down
Windows is shutting down, and grammar are On their last leg. So what am we to do? A letter of complaint go just so far, Proving the only one in step are you. Better, perhaps, to simply let it goes. A sentence have to be screwed pretty bad Before they gets to where you doesnt knows The meaning what it must of meant to had. The meteor have hit. Extinction spread, But evolution do not stop for that. A mutant languages rise from the dead And all them rules is suddenly old hat. Too bad for we, us what has had so long The best seat from the only game in town. But there it am, and whom can say its wrong? Those are the break. Windows is shutting down.
Clive James is an illustrious expatriate Australian poet and author living in London. The title (and opening phrase) of his poem will be familiar to everyone reading these words. I've read them often enough myself, but it has taken James's wit to point out how they should have grated painfully on my grammatical ear. It is a marvellously chosen example to illustrate his claim about declining grammatical standards, since digital technology has been such a powerful force for generating mangled syntax. There are many fine essays on the decline of the English language: George Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language' remains one of the best. This poem is a companion piece to James's own lament on the subject. The poem states James's argument more succinctly than the delightful accompanying essay, 'The Continuing Insult to the Language', both of which are published in 'The Monthly', June 2006. William Grey [Links] Clive James: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clive_James Orwell's essay: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm