Ode to ‘Of’

How do I love thee, Of

There are so many ways … gee, let me count them

I love thee about as deep and wide and high

(Higher than I can reach whilst standing on my tippy toes)

Indeed, you are the one my heart’s been dreaming of

Of this, I am sure

In you, I find a fountain of youth

You are, my Of, the sweetest delight of all

Perhaps you would like a little less syrup served with your of. But, to make a point, this surreptitiously sweet Ode to Of serves its purpose well.

You see, where would we be – any one of us – without of?

Without of, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet would lack the emphatic statement “of all my life!”

Without of, writers would most certainly be rendered impotent in prose, poetry and all other genres.

Of, in just the right place, lends understanding and grace.

It identifies: the Earl of Transylvania wandered the streets at night, seeking milky-white delights, yet unknown.

Of course would lose its agreeability and assume a simple, shy existence somewhere unseen, unbidden, undiscovered – world without Of!

All silliness aside, of this I am sure, of has earned a royal place among us, as writers, in sentences, secure.

Its absence would be painfully pointed:

Whom were you thinking (of)?

What part (of) this sentence is missing?

I am (of) the opinion that chocolate and cherries belong together … oh, for the love (of) ice cream!

I’ve made my point, I believe, short and sweet – of the importance of this one word – unassuming, yet decidedly confident when placed just so.

The editor of this earnest periodical bemoans the loss of of in his life: he says of is the most-ignored word in all of the stories he has edited. In a couple years, perhaps writers will stop trying to write like they talk and realize it has been a couple of years.

Of all the words you could choose, of has no equal – no parallel. I cannot think of one to take its place.

Of testifies of its usefulness. Nothing further need be said.

Raise a glass (or, better yet, a pen) with me in a toast to of.

Here’s to of: live long and prosper in all of our writing!

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