What a Single Word Can Do

The Washington Post, this morning had a headline that caught my eye–one that demanded that I drop everything else on my docket and publish a post that I had scribbled in my night-time notebook.    I had been waiting to fall asleep, and  thinking about Writing,  and the World, and Worry…and the News Media.

The Post article stated that the recent world summit on climate control, held in Paris last week, nearly got sabotaged by a single word: In the final draft, someone had substituted the word “shall,” for the word “should.”

This gigantic error, if that’s what it was, could have proven monumental.  The Word shall denotes mandatory compliance; should provides a host of wiggle-room and interpretation.   Well happily, they fixed the deal-breaker word and passage of the legislation followed.

There should be a link here…if not please stay tuned.  🙂  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/anatomy-of-a-deal-how-the-climate-accord-was-won–and-nearly-lost/2015/12/13/2a9b3416-a1df-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow

My poem follows:


Semantic Dilemma

Sometimes when writing
a message of great importance,
designed to affect the very life
of the Universe…

… the missive halts in mid-sentence
to provide time and opportunity
to ponder the intricacies
of grammar and punctuation.

As the fate of the species hangs in the balance,
we pause–or stop short– to contemplate
implications of the use of a colon (or semi-)
or to insert an apostrophe… or elipses.

“Is it shall, or will…?” a dilemma which
has brought many a public meeting to a
screeching halt while consulting
a man of the Law.

To complicate the process of proper transcription
is the issue of gender.  Is it “he, she, or they?”
The cause of Political Correctness
directly affects what separates or connects us.