If my memory serves me on this lovely spring morning (finally!) I have prefaced almost every single one of my (so far) 27 sonnets for the month of April with a little bit of prose–some context, some notes about process, some observations about the craft of sonneteering. Today, I may have some notes on this new one as well–but I want to share the poem first. So here we are with three more days to go in National Poetry Writing Month!
My first year out of a long steady job,
By choice, I might add, has been worthy of
A fourteen-line poem, of which I just
Spoiled the entire first quatrain. O, my love,
Let us be true to one another now:
I have become like a good-for-nothing
boarder in our own suburban house;
I wander around a lot, do some chores,
I shop groceries, do the laundry, cook, mow,
And I have been productive, that I know.
How many thousands of words have I penned?
And dozens of songs in the studio?
I’ve earned a few bucks on drums, that’s the word:
But I’ve hardly left the house, ermahgerd!
Perhaps one of the greatest results of this exercise of writing 30 sonnets in 30 days, has been a correspondence that’s been taking place between myself and a fellow writer. It was early–even before the month began, but after I had “announced” on the blog here my goal of sticking to the 14 line structure, I received an invitation from a poet friend, Don Colburn, to exchange poems all the way through the month. It is the first time in a decade of NaPoWriMo participation that I have ever received such an invitation or extended one. I would highly recommend doing this, if you are not doing it already. It’s one thing to post on the NaPoWriMo website or Facebook page, and share with a community of strangers your progress, celebrations, and woes–but it’s quite another and a significantly more powerful thing to have a single individual, someone you like and trust, who is willing to share their work. It’s fun and it’s a momentous motivator! So–I want to thank my friend for the invitation and to say that it has made this round of NaPoWriMo more rewarding and satisfying than it has ever been.
After that long preamble, I will say that in one of my emails to Don, responding to some absolutely kind and generous feedback he had given, I wrote: “Ermahgerd!” To discover that this is a version of “Oh my god” as heard through the mouth of a teenager wearing a retainer, an expression that has reached epic and viral meme proportions in recent years, Don had to google it. He was amused. In a follow-up email, I then suggested, as a lark, that we try to work the new vocabulary into a sonnet. As is evidenced by the poem above, I did that. What Don might not know, and what I didn’t know until this morning, is that there is an on-line translator that will write your standard American English in a new language, the language of Ermahgerd. I thought–of course–this must be done with today’s poem. So here it is. You’re welcome.
Translated to Ermahgerd:
MAH FERST YER ERT ERF A LERNG STERDER JERB,
BER CHERC, I MAHGHT ERD, HERS BERN WERTHER ERF
A FERTERN LERNERPERM, ERF WHERCH I JERST
SPERLERD DA ERNTER FERST QERTRERN. O, MAH LERV,
LERT ERS BER TRER TER ERN ERNERTHER NER:
I HERV BERCERM LERK A GERDFERNERTHIN
BERDER ERN ER ERN SERBERBERN HERS;
I WERNDER ERERND A LERT, DER SERM CHERERS,
I SHERP DA GRERCERERS, DER DA LERNDRER, MAHR,
ERND I HERV BERN PRERDERCTERV, THERT I KNER.
HER MAHNER THERSERNDS ERF WERDS HERV I PERNERD?
ERND DERZERNS ERF SINS ERN DA STERDER?
ERV ERNERD A FERW BERCKS, ERVERN, THERTS DA WERD:
BERT ERV HERDLER LERFT DA HERS, ERMAHGERD!