Tribute – The Grammarer (for Jerry Logan)

*sung to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

1. ‘Twas a worn, sullen Steve
On a page count for tenure,
Who mangled up some grammar
That was broke too bad to keep;

So, he took words to Jerry,
A physician for the artless—
Adored amanuensis—
Who then began to tweak.

He said, “Steve I have no right
To be reading people’s phrases,
Fudging where their hearts are
By the way that I revise;

But your rún-ons might be saying
That you’ll soon be out of raises:
Cut the waste-wording is key…
You kinda say things thrice.

So, make Hemingway your model
With a shrank-down style to follow,
One that comes off literate,
And smacks of Strunk & White;

Then the mighty get compliant
At the force of your expression;
If you’re one for staking claims, Steve,
We’ll edit yours to make it tight.

You gotta know when to scold ‘em,
Or stranglehold ‘em,
Know when to understate,
And when tó poke fun;

You never counsel any
  body fickle and unstable,
Or you’ll be finding me for counseling
When the Dean is done.”

2. “For every grammar coach,
There’s a sequence to revising,
It’s throwing what’s to throw away,
Then honing what’s to keep;

If every draft is thinner,
Then every draft’s improved-er—
A text yoú first wróte so
You could weed it and reap.”

And when he finished teaching.
He capped and let his pen go:
No doubt rejiggering
Had saved those profs a heap.

Then sometime in Mad Marchness,
The Grammarer wrote I’m leaving,
Who minded more than words
With a finesse we’ll try to keep.

You gotta know when you’ve sold ‘em,
Know when you’ve bowled ‘em,
Know when your resume’s
The sine qua non;

But you’d never count on money
Till you’ve written at a table
Twice as long and more devoutly
Than you’ve really done.

You gotta know when you’ve told ‘em,           
                  when you’ve told ‘em                            
Or mind controlled ‘em,
                  mind controlled ‘em
Know when you’ve caused a fray,
And know when you’ve won;

You won’t encounter any
Indecision ‘bout your label
Due to tidy, buff recounting
Of good deeds you’ve done.

You’ll never know what you’ve owed him,
How you’d freeload him,
You’d make him call Roget
Or quote Marv Wilson;      

You’ve never found somebody
Who kept sitting at the table
For the time and as devoutly
As Jerry Logan’s done.

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