Idioms and idiots and Americanisms: A poem

It has come to my attention
that I really know not much
about this culture I live in
the way you speak and such

I get that I am different
I will now show you why
so go ahead make fun of me
laugh until you cry

I’m not an American
although try to blend
and in my proper English speak
I really must defend

That when you say:
an ax to grind or a chip upon his shoulder
I think you’re slicing potatoes
to be worn in some sort of holster

and when I hear:
bend over backwards
or barking up the wrong tree
I think you and your dog
are doing gymnastics just for me

So go ahead and tell me:
Elvis has left the building
and I drove someone up the wall
I will wait for his return
and try to catch them in case they fall

Please explain:
how to keep your head up
and a knee jerk reaction
all these body parts flying
really sounds kind of fun

So go ahead and use them
use them all you see fit
but understand we have our own
repertoire of shit

So let us say to you:
the actress said to the bishop
or all talk and no trousers
just lie back and think of England
there’s a couple of arouser’s

or perhaps we might slip in:
before you can say knife
bent as a nine bob note
or black as a Newgate’s knocker
did that one get stuck in your throat?

it’s all cat’s arse and cabbage
some might be inclined to say
trying to explain it is damp squib
you might have to fill in a blank
or even need ad-lib

so let’s pull a Dunkirk spirit
and just agree to disagree
not everyone can be so lucky
to talk as well as we

like giving a donkey strawberries
like a bear with a sore head
laugh to see the pudding crawl
some things are better left unsaid

Published by: Ionia Froment

Blogger, reviewer, theology/philosophy major. I'm a mother and a writer and a supporter of free speech and freedom in general. My favourite author is Albert Camus, and I listen to a bit of everything. I've been too busy (LAZY) to blog in the last few years, but I'm giving it another shot.

Categories PoetryTags, , 77 Comments

77 thoughts on “Idioms and idiots and Americanisms: A poem”

  1. I think various sayings and slang from around the world are fun. It increases the repertoire and they make me laugh because most of them make no sense. I need to find a George Carlin skit about it.


      1. He’s a rocket scientist, that would be the only one he knows. But he does know now that a coon’s age, a month of Sundays, and once in a blue moon are all about the same time frame. He will also accept that six of one and a half dozen of the other makes sense.


  2. This was priceless. I have been following on WordPress and he is English and have to decipher his idoms. You presented ‘Us’, Americans in the same light. Idioms are so wonderful, mini-metaphors I call them with strained analogical pretexts that can stand in for almost anything you want. Great Job.>KB


  3. This was great! Often when I use a saying I wonder how those that aren’t American might interpret them, if they can interpret them at all since they really only make sense in one particular culture. Although I don’t understand all English phrases, I will say that they, many times come across far classier than ours. Well done Ionia. πŸ™‚


  4. I didn’t know that the English speak English too. Strawberries for donkeys! You’re gonna drive me up a wall, or bananas, or plain meshugah!


  5. Oi! Don’t get your knickers in an uproar!

    Seriously, though, there were a few tasty lines new to me. Then again, I am from neither country…

    We learn something new everyday, so long as we let us.

    ps: ta, I enjoyed it


  6. Love it! I have a friend in South Africa and we’re always amused by respective sayings! And when I add the Spanish and Catalan ones is never ending!


    1. It really is amazing how many words mean something so very much different, as well. I’m always afraid I’m going to say something unintentionally lewd in polite conversation!


  7. Hi Ionia. I read this hilarious poem last night on my kindle fire after a long, hard, shitty day. You made me laugh and forget, for the rest of the day, my predicament. Well done! I’m going to send it to another British friend if that is ok with you.


  8. A brilliant poem, Ionia. I love it. I guess there are a few differences that I will need to get to grips with, or maybe I just shouldn’t give a rat’s arse. What do you think?


  9. That’s some funny ass shit, darling. I was trying to think of something that is uniquely Canuckistanian, but I am at a loss. Do they use the charming phrase “useless as tits on a bull” in fair Albion?


  10. I read this via Twitter and loved it so much I had to read it to my husband yesterday (as we were having a very relevant conversation). We were both rolling. Thanks for it. πŸ˜‰


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