Saturday, 24 September 2011

The use of quotes

This poem of mine was written in 2000 and published in Verbatim 26(1), winter 2001, p.23. I have just learned, via a tweet from Verbatim Editor Erin McKean (@emckean), that today is National Punctuation Day, at least in her nation; here comes my offering.


I’ll send them both to jail, blabs ‘leaky’ judge.
The punctuation is correct,
with single quotes to mark what’s just alleged,
though what’s alleged may not be just.

‘Peace’ within quotes: a journalistic thumb
jerks its contempt for such a word.
But in Perhaps the mayor would like to come
(a plea of not-in-my-backyard)

and live with them “urinating in the lounge”
quotes mark unlettered emphasis,
eyes screwed to relieve out-of-focus rage.
Let’s call it a ‘non-standard’ use.

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