From an original photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels
a poem to be paired with With

And, another word –
verboten in excess,
the Creative Writing Rules
would warn.
And then another thing
And, and, And, and.
Dandy and, 
Like but, not to be 
ushered in at sentence starts.
And so for years, and 
carefully was placed or
But now the rules are weaker.
Butands, andbuts
Buttons, and boîtes,
All found in these small words.


Today’s poem is a companion to With. Both poems are about a personal rebellion against recommended creative writing rules. Don’t end sentences with with. And don’t start sentences with and and nor should you use and in excess by using it to tag on extensions and meanders to your primary thoughts. Of course, I have an affection for these two small words. With and. And with.

There is a third word in this list of to be used correctly words and that is but. Like and, it should not be used to start sentences (with). In the poem, you can see how the association with but finds its way into the playful end list:

But now the rules are weaker.

Butands, andbuts

Buttons, and boîtes,

These three little words are little buttons as they attach and close the gaps between meanings and sentences. And they are little presents that add an extra thought (And then this other thing happened…) or swerve the original direction (I had planned to, but…) or bring in the possibility of open adventure and movement (Let’s go with).

Don’t do this in your homework, kids. You may have to wait until you are the final arbiter of your writing style.

This poem is in Necessary Work, an unreleased collection that BeadedQuill has in the wings. In the meantime have a look at Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written in 2018 while jangling to-and-fro during the London commute.

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Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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