War on Words

by Jim Murdoch

Did you get the
memo? No? Me neither.
Well, it turns out
our generation’s

allocation
of words is due to run
out next spring. Some
administrative

cock-up no doubt.
So, the Council’s setting
up collection
boxes if you find

yourself with a
few extra words (ours is
in the car park
behind the Co-op)

anything you
really don’t need to say,
the odd lie or
swear word, whatever

you can manage.
I was going to get
rid of all my
ers and ums – they must

be of use to
someone. What do you think?

Jim Murdoch is a Scottish poet whose work has regularly appeared in magazine since the 1970s. He has also published three novels and blogs regularly at The Truth About Lies.

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  1. #1 by Sandra Davies on September 13, 2012 - 7:14 am

    Lovely and I’d also hope for a way to swap ‘like’ and ‘nowhaddimean’ for proper words.

  2. #2 by Joy Manne on September 13, 2012 - 7:28 am

    Deep stuff. I read it twice and then printed it to read again and again. Love the concept. Love the poem.

  3. #3 by Author Jessica Bell on September 13, 2012 - 10:07 am

    Ha! What a fabulous poem. Mind you, I wouldn’t expect anything shy of brilliant from Jim.

    • #4 by thepygmygiant on September 13, 2012 - 2:04 pm

      There’s more from Jim later in the month…

  4. #5 by Jim Murdoch on September 13, 2012 - 11:10 am

    @Sandra – With me it’s ‘nice’ and ‘interesting’. I doubt I have written a single blog without using both words in each. In my last novel I even have my protagonist go off on a wee rant about her frequent use of the word ‘nice’.

    @Joy – I don’t know why but I’m always especially touched when someone prints out one of my poems or stories. I have a friend who wanted to pin one of my stories in her loo for people to read. Thankfully I managed to talk her out of it. The one that pleased me the most was a fellow poet who printed out my poem ‘The Art of Breathing’ and pinned it on the cork board beside his desk because, he said, I had managed to put into words exactly how he felt about writing. It’s lovely when a poem finds its perfect reader like that.

    @Jessica – Flatterer.

    • #6 by Joy Manne on September 13, 2012 - 11:53 am

      Jessica, I want to read your poem The Art of Breathing. In my other life I’m a breathing therapist.

      • #7 by Jim Murdoch on September 13, 2012 - 12:13 pm

        @Joy – As far as I know Jessica hasn’t written a poem called ‘The Art of Breathing’ but here’s mine:

        The Art of Breathing

        To find room for the new
        you have to let go of
        the old

        so to learn how to write
        I had to forget how
        to breathe

        and for a time I thought
        I had to write to keep
        breathing

        which makes such perfect sense
        but only if you’re a
        poet.

        20 November 1997

      • #8 by Joy Manne on September 13, 2012 - 2:28 pm

        I still want to read it. I’m sorry I got muddled up. It’s almost the first time I do comments anywhere. See how you inspired me.

  5. #9 by Fiona Campbell on September 13, 2012 - 12:38 pm

    Simply lovely!

  6. #10 by Jim Murdoch on September 13, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    @Fiona – I’m glad you thought so. The odd thing about this one is that I nearly tossed it in the bin when I first drafted it. It seemed slight and I wasn’t sure it was worth the effort. Now, of course, I’m pleased I sat on it.

  7. #11 by Angela Wray on September 13, 2012 - 6:32 pm

    Loved this – brilliant concept!

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