Pate is a head,
pâte, a porcelain,
pâté, an appetizer;

the devil, they say,
is in the di-ˈtāls.

How you complicated
love, that single syllable,
how your troubled tongue

twisted and tortured
its sweet consonance,
could not speak,

nor your ear, hear, the
essential emphasis,
where it must

fall — must —
if any word
be given breath.



  1. Wow – intriguing reflection on pronunciation/grammatic intent … when spoken, those little distinctions may elude (even if they register, the receiver may and may be capable of distinguishing intended nuances.) Perhaps this is a call for plain-speak? (Definitely thought-provoking!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Jazz. I get Merriam-Webster’s “word of the day” e-mail, which includes interesting language- and grammar- related articles. I wouldn’t know the term “diacritic” in reference to pronunciation marks were it not for one of those articles. And, of course, that was the genesis of this poem. So, thanks, M-W!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Damn that devil! But yes!

    Liked by 2 people

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