Punctuation Day

Written for National Punctuation Day, September 24, 2012.

An apostrophe
marks the place of what’s missing
or that it is owned.

It’s possessive or
a shortened form of two words
says apostrophe.

The bracket injects
and sets apart what’s added
square or rounded ones.

the parentheses,
braces, brackets: all enclose
more information.

two dots vertical
begin a list or a quote
it’s called a colon.

colon sets apart
second clause explaining first
or shows ratio

Uses for colon:
great for appositive clause,
hours from minutes

Separating things,
comma: a way to divide,
to pause, or to list.

Is that last comma
that dreaded oxford comma
often needed? Yes.

A clause, an adverb
The comma sets words apart
to help the reader.

En dash and Em dash
similar but not the same
look twice and decide.

En dash links things
making a bigger name,
combining two-words

En dash makes a range
of two numbers or may show
a relationship

Em dash breaks the thought
or shows an interruption
I just can’t go on —

oh, the ellipsis
trailing off so quietly,
leaving it unsaid.

It may show tension
or stand in for omission
or implication.

The best ellipsis
stands in for all sarcasm
when there are no words.

Exclamation mark!
What else can say excitement
in its pointed way?

Some astonishment or
sharp command or quick bang
recent to keyboards.

Really? A full stop,
also called a period
or simply, a dot.

Decimal separator,
or end with a dot.

Less known, angle quotes
indicate speech for some lands
as <<that's what she said.>>

The question is raised by it,
and asked directly.

The curlique mark
with its ending dot below
shows it's a question.

When quoting someone
or when throwing into doubt
the quotation mark.

nesting quotations
play havoc on readers' brains
keep it simple folks!

making air quotes
or using incorrect quotes
blurs the meaning.

Oh! Semicolon:
listing phrases with commas;
linking related.

Forward slash as or,
As virigule ends a line
or subs for hyphen.

Interpunct, my friends,
centered between word•and•word
shows separation

I use interpuncts •
to show the haiku line breaks •
regardless of screen.

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