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Poems From the Porch 58

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.


Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.

— H. Jackson Brown Jr.

An English Lesson From the Porch

Well, I am a bit late with this addition of Poems From the Porch. This week there are only two poems and I don't really have an excuse other than these requests were quite challenging and took some additional thought and research. I did enjoy writing them though, so a big thanks to both Ann and Shauna for their prompts.

This is not really an English lesson, and there are people here like Ann Carr and Bill Holland, and others, that are much more qualified than I in that subject anyway. The topics this week, however, are related to the English language so I hope you find these two poems to be an enjoyable, or at least an interesting read for a few minutes of your day.

I have a suggestion for a future poem--the complexity of the English language. For example, consider how each of these words is pronounced--enough, dough, trough, furlough, through.

— Linda Lum

A Limerick

There was a young girl from Slough

who choked on a piece of dough.

But by the time she was through,

with a hiccough and cough

she woke everyone in the borough.

~ annonymous

Photo by Mike from Pexels

Photo by Mike from Pexels

The English Language is Complex

Every creature on this Earth

Wherever they are from by birth,

Even a deep-sea crustacean,

Has some form of communication.

Some languages may seem a breeze,

Scroll to Continue

Even young children learn with ease.

But English, well, where do I start?

My mother tongue, it’s in my heart.

English started out in Britain,

Just ignore the way it’s written.

Its rules are strict unless they’re broke,

And hidden under veil or cloak.

This piece of verse is very weird.

Like a char-grilled steak that’s lightly seared.

But hopefully, there’s something more

That has you laughing on the floor.

My daughter’s laughter and her smiles

Has me dancing in the aisles.

While similes and metaphors

Are like corps, or cause of course.

Use your head and read this poem

For it was written by a gnome.

While far away there is a war,

I wish conflict we could outlaw.

He slipped a lead around my head

And to the lead mine, I was led.

While far away there is a war,

I wish conflict we could outlaw.

Take your wallet to the ballet,

Buy your love a nice bouquet.

When in France try a baguette,

Or in England watch cricket.

Give me food but don’t shed blood,

When it rains dirt turns to mud.

Worms rise up when there’s a storm,

When a hive is shaken bees may swarm.

Drink a pint, or maybe two,

Then suck a mint for fresh breath too.

It’s not beneath your haughty status,

If money’s short then ask for gratis.

My front veranda’s lined with lattice,

At bedtime, I like a firm mattress.

My cough is rough, I’ll draw a graph.

But when the bough broke I had to laugh.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The word “Australia” has three “A’s”

Each pronounced in different ways.

This probably is not unique,

Especially in weird English speak.

My Dali moustache it needs a wax,

For perfect shape is what it lacks.

Alas, my toothache’s causing grief,

To ease it I’ll just chew a leaf.

Be careful not to cross police,

Especially when you’re with your niece.

For any time you break the law

A quick arrest may be in store.

A young female cow is called a heifer,

But how does that word rhyme with zephyr?

I also question womb and tomb,

Does that mean bomb should sound like boom?

Today we have auto spell-checks,

But English is still the most complex.

When hiccough sounds the same as cup

I think it’s time to take French up! .. or German, or Spanish, or Italian, or Japanese.. or..


I don't know if I missed it, but a while back I suggested you use oxymorons as a theme. For instance, why do doctors and lawyers refer to their vocations as practices? Shouldn't they have "practised" in school?

— Shauna L Bowling

What Is An Oxymoron?

An oxymoron is a piece of figurative language that joins two opposing elements to form a sensible idea. It should not be taken literally, however, for then statement may be misinterpreted. An oxymoron is similar to a paradox, but the key difference between the two is that a paradox offers a situation with the unlikely coexistence of two events, while an oxymoron is simply a figure of speech. Although most oxymorons are only two words in length, in some cases the oxymoron may consist of two contradictory phrases or clauses. (source:



I long to see a civil war

Where no side takes offence

And cruel kindness is extended.

The best attack’s defence.

Random rows of living sacrifices

Submit to humane slaughter.

While joyful sadness overloads

And the dull roar just grows smaller.

The scalding coolness - bittersweet

Within the darkness visible,

But I’m a cheerful pessimist

In search of liquid marble.

Forfeit your beggarly riches

For comfortable misery,

To live in your sweet sorrow

Seeking loud tranquillity.

Please excuse my absent presence

And my apathy so intense.

For my melancholy merriment

Just invites these sounds of silence.

When we’re alone together

Cool passion warms my blood

And gives my heart a freezer burn

Like a desert that’s in flood.

I’ll give a definite maybe

For your lies are falsely true.

This impossible solution

Floats like a lead balloon.

Your honesty’s deceptive

And kindness often cruel.

Your love has been found missing,

I am a brilliant fool.

My paralyzed feelings can’t be felt

Just like a life extinct.

A genuine imitation

Of the famous missing link.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 30, 2021:

Hi MizB, yes, I also heard that Chinese was the only language more complicated than English. I’m in no hurry to try and learn that. I am happy that you enjoyed these poems and that the video gave you a laugh.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on March 30, 2021:

John, your poem on the English language is hilarious, and it makes a good point. I've heard it said that English is second in difficulty only to Chinese. Loved the oxymoron one, too. I think my favorite example is "military intelligence." The oxymoron song was cute and worth listening to for a laugh.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 27, 2021:

Yes, Ravi. I think you are right that English is complex largely due to its amalgamation of words from so many other languages, and also that our language structure is different to most. Thank you for your input.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 27, 2021:

Devika, thank you as always. These poems were fun to write so I am please that you enjoyed them too.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on March 27, 2021:

Your poem and the commentary of the nuances of the English language is bang on target. Perhaps English became complex because of its amalgamation and absorption of words from so many languages starting from Latin, to French and even Hindi for that matter. Great stuff John as always.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 27, 2021:

Wow! Jodah a great combination and words tell it better and with great meaning. Your poetry is superb!

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on March 25, 2021:

Noted Sir John!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 25, 2021:

Thank you for reading, Chrish. It sounds like your Mama is very wise. The more your write and speak English the more confidence you will gain. Take care.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on March 25, 2021:

This is awesome Sir John! My mama usually correct my pronunciation cause they're often wrong hahaha it's unbelievable that you need high powered confidence when reading paragraphs or when you speak (that's what she taught me) the challenge is tough, as always-- You gave it justice. A worth reading executions!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 25, 2021:

Hi EK, good to know that you love English. It seems a lot of people who have English have a second language have trouble with prepositions due to the different structures of their own language. To most native English speakers, prepositions are the easiest part of the language.

You are correct though that even with English as our native tongue, many still struggle getting it right.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 25, 2021:

Chitrangada, I admire people like you you have such a good grasp of English even though it is your second language. I have enough trouble getting it right, let alone trying to learn another. Thank you for reading my work, as always.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on March 24, 2021:

Jodah, you know what— I just love English. I am from Abbottabad, Pakistan. Misbah has shared enough information about our country and education system. I love my mother tonge, but my passion for learning English never ended.

There is a difference between speaking one's own language fluently and mastering another's language. Some people have many grammatical errors even though their mother tongue is English. I always get confused in choosing prepositions. Lol.

The importance of English language can't be denied. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 24, 2021:

Excellent poems in this edition of Poems from the porch. I liked both the themes, suggested by the fellow writers. And as always, you have done a wonderful job with both the poems.

English is not my first language. It's Hindi. But, English is of course the language of communication all over the World. In India, 22 languages are officially recognized by the constitution, but there are thousands of other regional languages. We generally understand most of them.

This edition was different and i enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Harriet, I am happy that you found these poems to be a joyful learning experience. Thank you for reading and for your generous comment.

Harriet Dionela from Taguig City, Philippines on March 24, 2021:

You make writing so easy. I loved the oxymoron poem! I enjoyed and learned at the same time while reading it.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

I am glad you found this on your feed, Kyler. That is the major challenge lately. For some reason the work of some I follow never make it to my feed. Cheers for liking the “oxymoron” poem.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you, Flourish. I can only try.

Kyler J Falk from California on March 24, 2021:

Super excited to see your porch back on my feed; I hope they continue to pop up and don't disappear for unknown reasons again! The Oxymorons poem was my favorite by far!

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 24, 2021:

I liked the examples used in the oxymoron poem. Keep up the good work!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you for adding that Shauna, you comment really enhances the article. They say “rules are made to be broken” well, that is certainly the case in English. Glad you enjoyed the video too.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Hi Manatita. These were certainly a challenge, but in saying that I had fun writing the poems. I am happy they turned out ok, and that you found the video funny. Much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you Peg. We all need fun reads don’t we? I did my best.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Hi Shauna. It is great that you liked the Oxymoron poem that you requested especially. I actually learned a few things writing these, which was good.

I think both ways of spelling hiccup/hiccough are accepted here, and “hiccup” actually more commonly used as Aussies like to keep words as short and as easy as possible. I am sure you will enjoy the video.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 24, 2021:

I was right, John. The video not only illustrated the meaning of "oxymoron", but added hilarity to your humorous poem. Excellent choice!

Anyone whose first (or only) language is English knows that not only is English full of rules that have exceptions, but is replete with oxymorons.

Brenda is right. I took four years of French in high school and used to speak and write it fluently, but that was eons ago. French and Spanish assign female and male connotations to their nouns. They also place adjectives after the noun, not before. For instance, in French, "the red door" is "la porte rouge". "La" indicates feminine noun, "porte" means door (opening), and "rouge" is the color red. On the other hand, "the blue table" is spoken and written as this: Le table bleu, pronounced "le toblu, with a short "u" on the "o" and shwa "e" on the "u", blur.". For some reason "table" is masculine. "La" is feminine and "le" is masculine. I think many, if not most of the romance languages follow the same rule of thumb. That's one reason English is so hard to learn. We really have no rhyme or reason. Case it point: "I before e except after c and sometimes y." Sheesh!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thanks Liz. Yes, I couldn’t imagine the difficulties of trying to learn English if I had to now. I learnt a little French and Japanese..but basically only how to say good morning, good night, and count to ten.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you so much Rosina. I am always happy that you enjoy my poetry. In fact, your requested poem should finally be in my next Poems From the Porch.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

You and me also, Clive. English borrows so much from other languages, it was inevitable that it became so confusing.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Misbah, thank you for your generous comment and for sharing all that interesting information about your country and language. No matter how hard you study I don’t think you can fully grasp English without living for an extended period in an English speaking country. Then you learn many nuances, slang, and other things that aren’t taught in classes.

I am so glad you enjoyed these poems. Blessings to you.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Hi Linda, these poems certainly got the old grey matter working. Yes, there certainly are oxymorons everywhere you look, read, or hear. I am pleased you enjoyed what I wrote.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you for reading Louise. I am glad you enjoyed these poems.

manatita44 from london on March 24, 2021:

I think the video is the funniest of all. Right on cue too! Great job!

Perhaps they were a bit unfair to you this time. Even I would have struggled. Ha-ha. You did an awesome job, though. Brill!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 24, 2021:

What fun these poems were to read. You illustrated with humor the complexities of the English language.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 24, 2021:

John you did a fabulous job of oxymorons! Same with Linda's suggestion. BTW, you Aussies spell hiccup funny (tee hee), that's why, to you, it's not spelled the way it sounds.

I'm glad I caught this before it forced me to seek the back door. Sometimes articles I want to comment on don't show up for a day or two. By then, I forget most of what I wanted to say.

I'll be back to watch the video. I have a feeling it'll be hilarious.

Thank you for taking on this rather difficult challenge, John. You did an awesome job!

Liz Westwood from UK on March 24, 2021:

This is a great poetry selection, which brings out the idiosyncrasies of the English language. I count myself as fortunate to have grown up with it, rather than having to learn it at a later date.

Rosina S Khan on March 24, 2021:

I loved your exceptional poems, John. I think you have outdone yourself. Kudos to you and your talent. I love the sense of humor in them as well. Thanks for sharing.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on March 24, 2021:

Even as a writer. English Confuses me. I wonder who created such a weird language.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on March 24, 2021:

John, it’s a Brilliant work, I have ever read

Although, I love each of your poem but this is extraordinarily amazing

My mother tongue is Urdu, I belong to Lahore, Pakistan

I am happy that the literacy rate of Pakistan is gradually increasing.

According to the fresh records, it is 65%, with males at 69% and females at 40%.

I have completed my education in a private school and university. Not everyone in Pakistan can afford private schools, in private schools English is a compulsory language and you have more qualified teachers with a good system and everything. Basically we call it an English Medium School

The books, I have studied were all from Oxford and Cambridge. As I mentioned it is expensive so English is elite language there. Islamiat (Islamic Studies) is a compulsory subject in both private and government schools in Pakistan until year 10 as it is an Islamic Republic state. In English medium schools we have Islamic studies in English language.

Most of the teachers often ask students in class to talk in English.

There are a lot of private institutes in Pakistan, they teach English to adults. We have TOEFL and IELTS examinations in Pakistan.

A lot of people do it for improving their English language Skills and many take classes for the visa purposes. I also passed IELTS test for my uk visa about 6 years ago.

But still somewhere at some point, I feel like, I have not a very good command on this language. As in home parents, family, relatives and friends use to speak in Urdu.

You know Pakistan has 74 languages. Each province has their own language. Four of these are provincial languages – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Balochi. Urdu is the National language. English and Urdu are the two official languages of Pakistan, the documentation which the government accepts should only be in these two languages.

However, mostly every Pakistani understand English language except the rural people.

I think, I shared a long story here, I am sorry but your first poem topic was very interesting to me. The second Poem is also very nice. I enjoyed the read as always.

You are always very creative by the way, the picture of your Notebook is not very clear but I can see you have a good hand writing. The first picture about Newton’s law I would proudly say, I also love Loopholes :)

Thanks for sharing a beautiful piece of writing

Blessings Always

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on March 24, 2021:

John, thank you for these—I loved them both and you've clearly shown the oddities of our native tongue. Oxymorons are such fun--jumbo shrimp, pure evil, only choice, government intelligence. And on and on it goes.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on March 24, 2021:

I really enjoyed reading your poems. I particularly enjoyed reading the limerick!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you Brenda. Yes, English is apparently a very difficult language. I am glad it is my native one. It is good that you learn something new with the the oxymorons too. Take care.

Ann Carr from SW England on March 24, 2021:

The cartoon and quotes were great too!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 24, 2021:


These poems are great!

I have often heard people say that the English language is the hardest one to learn.

I do know from back in my school days that other languages only have female and male for all the words & in English we toss in nueter.

So that last line...any other language does this justice.

Loved the comic strip.

Oxymoron...i don't think I've heard this term before...but now I do get it.

Both of your poems made me smile.

Video was great too.

Have a nice day in Ausie Land.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Hey Devika, glad you enjoyed reading these poems. Yes, I think challenges make us better and more versatile writers. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Hello Pamela. I appreciate your kind comment. To know readers enjoy my poetry makes writing it a pleasure and I don’t intend ending this series anytime soon.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you, Ann. I am glad you feel I did well with these poems as they were quite a challenge, and that they made you chuckle is even better. Take care.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 24, 2021:

Hi Jodah poems from the Porch 58 is believable from you. I enjoyed reading it is a fun read and I like a challenge.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 24, 2021:

I love your poems. The English language one is terrific, and I also like the oxymoron one. You are so talented to write such long poems that are so very clever. Thank you for this article, John.

Ann Carr from SW England on March 24, 2021:

You've done this so well, John. I'm flattered that you mentioned me in your introduction but I'm not so sure I deserve it!

These were great fun and I was chuckling all the way through.


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

It sure was good timing on my part then, Bill. I should be sleeping but wanted to get this finished and published first. I envy those who can speak and write more than one language even semi-fluently.

I surprise my self sometimes that I can write poems about some subjects. I have had a few I thought too hard, but somehow managed.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 24, 2021:

Thank you for reading, Rasma. I admire you for being able to speak more than one language and I am certain you made English fun for your Latvian students to learn.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 24, 2021:

I was just about to shut down the computer and this popped up. Good timing on my part.

Fun poems! I can't imagine learning English as a second language. Quite frankly, it makes no sense on many occasions. How some of these HP writers do it is a mystery to me.

Also a mystery to me is how you can write poems about any random topic. All I can do is sit back and applaud. I'm certainly not going to try and do it. lol

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on March 24, 2021:

Enjoyed them all. I know the English language is complex but I tried to convince those I instructed in Latvia that is was actually much easier to learn than the Latvian language and I think I succeeded.

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