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.

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

Demarcations by Karl Elder (haikus on punctuation)

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