Judith Werner

Lost Languages

My critics think this sentence is too long.

End-stop, I hear, is barely short enough.

First colon: the grammar guards yell, wrong!

Syntax like yours makes reading much too tough.

Forget the clauses! None is much too many.

Dependent’s worse. Who says that Latin lives?

Preposition wrong? Just don’t use any.

Lose adverbs. (Not to mention adjectives.)

The fault, not in caesuras or in line

breaks, is thinking words into a paragraph

so Byzantine, perhaps by my design,

it makes the common-speech crowd weep…or laugh…

You can’t say that. Too dense. The grammar’s lead.

It’s Greek to me. Is English also dead?