Demarcations by Karl Elder (haikus on punctuation)

Here’s a series of poems I like to use in class before we talk about punctuation (an oft-ignored topic in essay writing). I give my students the haikus without their titles, and then ask them to figure out what punctuation mark each haiku is about. Then, I ask them to write a haiku about one of their favorite punctuation marks.  Then, we discuss punctuation in writing, and how the use of punctuation can impact meaning.

Demarcations
Karl Elder

The Hyphen
Had you a whole line
of them you’d have your own train.
Imagine the freight.

The Colon
Eyes of a dead man
lying on his side, looking
into a bright light.

The Comma
Ah, giant embryo
with tail, what say you—yin or
yang, you little shrimp.

The Semicolon
A Spanish peanut,
a cashew—which’s the best fit
for the appendix?

The Question Mark
Eerie character—
he whose lobe of an artist’s
left ear is severed.

The Exclamation Point
Dah-dit. A signal
in Morse code turned on end: N,
you must solve for it.

The Period
How we’ve come to draw
with such sheer economy
the perfect circle.

Posted by Kate, Blog Editor and Book Reviewer for PCTELA

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Demarcations by Karl Elder (haikus on punctuation)

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