English As It Is Spelled

When my grandmother died, we found this poem by Isabel Smythe among all of the birthday and Christmas cards in my grandfather’s old smoke stand.

This year – I firmly made a vow

I’m going to learn to spell.

I’ve studied phonics very hard.

Results will surely tell.


“A little bird sat on a bough

And underneath there stood a cough.”

That doesn’t look just right somehow.

I guess I should have spelled it cou.


“I thought I heard a distant cough

But when I listened, it shut outh.”

Oh, dear I think my spelling’s awf.

I guess I meant I hard a coff.


“To bake a pizza – take some dough

And let it rise, but very slough.”

That doesn’t look just right, I know.

I guess on that I sutbbeed my tow.


“My father says down in the slough

The very largest soybeans grough.”

Perhaps he means, “The obvious cloo

To better crops, is soil that’s nue.”


“Cheap meat is often ver tough.

We seldom like to eat the stough.”

I’m all confused – this spelling’s ruff.

I guess I’ve studied long enuph.


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