tounge-twisters

February 2, 2011

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word.

Sword and sward, retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Say—said, pay—paid, laid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Woven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
Missiles, similes, reviles.

Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
Same, examining, but mining,
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far.

From ‘desire’: desirable—admirable from ‘admire’,
Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,

Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discount, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Is your R correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyant, minute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover, plover, Dover.
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice,

Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, penal, and canal,
Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
Rhyme with ‘shirk it’ and ‘beyond it’,
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor,

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the A of drachm and hammer.
Pussy, hussy and possess,
Desert, but desert, address.

Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

‘Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker’,
Quoth he, ‘than liqueur or liquor’,
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
Mind! Meandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffet, buffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the Z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.

The TH will surely trouble you
More than R, CH or W.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em—
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight—you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry, fury, bury,
Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisne, truism, use, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
Put, nut, granite, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Sea, idea, guinea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean,
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with ally; yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, key, quay!

Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, receiver.
Never guess—it is not safe,
We say calves, valves, half, but Ralf.

Starry, granary, canary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Bass, large, target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, oust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the O of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, putting. Putting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew, Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, clerk and jerk,
Asp, grasp, wasp, demesne, cork, work.

A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation—think of Psyche!—
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying ‘grits’?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock, gunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying lather, bather, father?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, bough, cough, hough, sough, tough?

Hiccough has the sound of sup.
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

by George Nolst Trenité (1870–1946)

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through the looking-glass

December 30, 2010

A person is beyond the thinking mind.  Many of you would probably be proud to be called Americans, as many Indians would probably be proud to be called Indians.  But what is “American,” what is “Indian”?  It’s a convention; it’s not part of your nature.  All you’ve got is a label.  You really don’t know the person.  The concept always misses or omits something extremely important, something precious that is only found in reality, which is concrete uniqueness.

The great Krishnamurti put it so well when he said, “The day you teach the child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again.”  How true! The first time the child sees that fluffy, alive, moving object, and you say to him, “Sparrow,” then tomorrow when the child sees another fluffy, moving object similar to it he says, “Oh, sparrows.  I’ve seen sparrows.  I’m bored by sparrows.”

If you don’t look at things through your concepts, you’ll never be bored.  Every single thing is unique.

~Anthony de Mello

the late writings

December 24, 2010

It’s 2:22 AM, early Friday morning and I felt the urge to write something about gravity and you. Here it is.

Did you pay attention when your physics teacher told you about gravity, back when we’re in high school? Apart from those regular and capital letters combined with sequence of seemingly random numbers, gravity is still one of my favorite subjects. It tells us about the invisible forces of attraction; about the required conditions in order for things to stay in place instead of annihillating each other or moving away indefinitely.

Now, here I am, an average, ordinary rock suspended in space. You’ll observe that I’m currently orbiting a brilliant marble planet. The gravity between me and the white planet, combined with my original straight path of motion, created this circular orbit. Now, there are a great number of great planets out there that I haven’t encountered, but planets like this marble one are rare. Marbles are exquisite, riddled with enchanting small details that you have to appreciate from nearby. They’re tough and cool to touch, even when the nearest star shine upon its surface hours after hours. However, when you orbit something, usually that means that’s where you’ll always be: you can’t go nearer. Going too near means a chance for crash landing and risking to scar its glimmering surface.

The only option is to go away and leave the orbit, but how can a small rock do it?
With the help of another planet, of course.

The big problem is, you weren’t one. You were tiny little rocks just as I was (and still am).

So, for quite a while, I gathered some space dust and try to make you bigger. Each speck of dust adds your mass, which in turn adds the gravity between us. Every time and everywhere we met, I tried to put the correct amount of dust to the correct location inside and outside your body and soul in my mind. I tried to polish your imperfections. You didn’t realize it, because I never wrote about this, haven’t I? You didn’t realize it, because you never viewed yourself as a space object, did you?

All these laws only applied on my galaxy. Yes, my own galaxy. My very own desperate dimension that never cease to construct hopes and fears into my own reality. The only language that I ever use on the only form of writings that I ever make.

Do you know one of my biggest worries right now? No, I’m not talking about the original topic of gravity. In the end, it’s just something natural. That’s the way it supposed to go. What I’m worried about is all these little scars from catching all those sharp space dusts and small rocks. What I’m worried about is what’s inside your head and heart, inside your molten core that I might never glimpse.

What I’m worried about is that
you’ll never know and care
on how hard it is
to create
us.

whitescapes

December 1, 2010

take your time and observe your keyboard. see the longest key there? it’s called the space bar. when pressed, it produces spaces. tap twice, two spaces, and so on.

pretend that you wrote down everything you ever done, felt, or gone through. now look at what you wrote so far. your breaths, your meals, your new shoes, your empty soda can, your rains, your sexual curiosities, your boring films. basically, your whole life down to the tiniest conscious details. between millions of things, there are heartbreaks. there are loss. there are moments without gravity. there are moments when you were stuck and can’t put a period on it.

periods are hard to press. sometimes you just don’t want to end something.

the reality is, some people can press the period easily. some who don’t tend to write their mournings to satisfy their sudden explosion of melancholy. some write drinks and a lot of cigarettes. some of the worse ones don’t even write again.

in my case, i used to press the space bar a lot. i created huge, clean white spaces.

spaces were my easy escape.

 

the race

November 12, 2010

I’ve got a really bad habit.

I used to be the “silent majority”. I’m not outspoken, I prefer to mind my own business and life. I don’t like to talk out loud, I prefer to listen. Listening to noises, listening to stories. I always deliver a muted response to anything, especially this year. It’s not a good year at all. As happy as I am right now, it’s important to remember what really destroys this year: races.

Now you may recognize this boring tone, but it’s true: I don’t do much. Thanks for the compliment, but all I had done is really a couple of one-hit wonders. Thanks for the reputation, but although it does brighten my days ultimately it doesn’t really matter. You do know the feeling of winning smaller races and gradually losing the bigger ones, eh? Every person is both a winner and a loser at any given time or context. For better or for worse, every people have to know where he or she stands at any given time. Some people lose track. I lose track sometimes. This is one of those times.

I’m not…greedy. It used to be the race that I want that matters. Not anymore.
I guess it really is the time to losing these races to have a better year ahead,
and to get into the bigger one.

This post is written after I saw one of my very best mentor got accepted at McKinsey, my closest friend is already building a business empire, my old pal just demonstrated their Minority Report-esque touchscreen table, and a lot of my friend already got a stable and happy relationship.

Guess I haven’t figured out ways to get those kind of major happiness out of this wrecked mind of mine.

restart

October 29, 2010

Ehm. First of all, forgive my rather harsh tone on my writings lately (followed by a rather long pause of inspirations). I don’t really know the reason behind my anger. Maybe I just need to vent off. I’m supposed to channel all that by swimming, but turns out after I bought a new swimming goggles I’m still too lazy to go to the pool. Big plans gone awry, as usual.

On the bright side of the news, midtest is over. Environmental studies is becoming my favorite subject, because all I did was watching global warming and pollution-related movies twice a week and filled the midtest answer sheet just by remembering some editions of National Geographic magazine. The big assignment? designing poster. That’s just double awesome.

On even brighter side of the news, my Pasar Seni short video is a huge success. The actual event was unbelievably tiring and I didn’t watch a lot of events, but I managed to edit some footage (out of 20ish gigabytes from 5D mark II, rented by LFM) down to just over two minutes of delicious shots. I’m not a professional, so 44 reblogs on tumblr and some hundred views at facebook, vimeo, and youtube really boost by moods. Thanks a lot! For those who haven’t watched it, feel free to view and comment on here.

Now the uglies. My Blackberry Storm got stomped by a mysterious, natural born killer. The screen was cracked, so I switched to another second hand phone (which suspiciously also broken after 2 days of use). Luckily I also bought an Android phone plus a really cheap Axis data plan with the spare money, which I found unbelievably stellar. I choose Google Sky Map and Fruit Ninja over any goddamn blackberry at any day.

Now that my instability period (HAHA) is over, I’m back on writing mood. Before that, I will be having a small photosession with the Kendra Ahimsa and Tiza on Sunday. Of course, after I watch The Social Network premiere on the morning (thanks to Zahra’s spare tickets!). Regrettably, I’m not in the mood of watching any Facebook-related movies after we watched Setan Facebook last night. Wait for my..uh, review.

Doesn’t matter, I’m glad I’m back here.

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