Monday, 9 December 2013

Literally Minded, a poem by Melanie Branton

Third Quarter 2013 Flash 500 Humour Verse Winner

I’m a bit of a “literally” pedant,
So I literally screamed when I heard
That the dictionary-makers had added
An alternative gloss to this word.

It used to mean “really and truly”,
But the rules have been altered and, hence,
Now you’re entitled to use it
In a non-literal sense.

So I’ll have to stop loudly correcting
Any strangers I hear in the street
Announcing they’re “literally knackered”
Or  they “literally have two left feet.”

Only last Wednesday or Thursday
I was forced to explain to some goon
That he’d have to be Neil bloody Armstrong
To be “literally over the moon”.

I’ll soon be arrested for murder -
You’ll see me on Crimewatch one day -
As I’ll literally kill the next person
Who uses the word in this way.

(Though maybe I’ll end up in Broadmoor
When my diligent lawyers explain
That the widespread misuse of this adverb
Has literally sent me insane).

“How must the victim have felt?”
They may ask, when my plea is rebutted.
Then I’ll say, “Well, I cut out his entrails,
So I’d guess he felt literally gutted.”

If it wasn’t a word, but a person
It would surely be battered and bruised.
Let us act, while we can, to protect it –
It’s literally being abused!

Flash 500 runs three competitions. We have an open-themed category for fiction up to 500 words. There is also a humour verse section, asking for any form of funny poetry, from a limerick to a poem of 32 lines.

Both of the above are quarterly competitions with closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December.

The Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition is a new annual competition, opening for entries on 1st May and closing on 31st October.

For information on all three competitions, visit the Flash 500 website: 

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a brilliant poem. It sums up exactly how many of us feel about the abuse of our language. I wish I had written this (literally).