An editor’s lament (with apologies to Robert Frost)

The classic poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ gets the red-pen treatment.

Untitled Document

With miles to go before we sleep, those of us who correct, revise, sculpt and—sometimes—translate others’ writing sometimes get a bit frosty about our lot in professional life.

We have no one to blame but ourselves; we have chosen the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

[Download this free white paper to discover 10 ways to improve your writing today.]

Here, then, is my take on Robert Frost’s classic poem about solitude and a journey that seems never quite completed:

Cropping Some Words on a Frosty Morning

Whose prose this is, I think I know.
His text first vexed me long ago.
He will not note the tweaks I make,
Nor benefit from what I know.

His syntax is a huge mistake,
I realize as I undertake
To make this muddle crisp and clear
And his bad habits hope to shake.

Lord, how I wish that he were here
To see the way that I adhere
To grammar rules and AP style
But he will never learn, I fear.

My office mates just give a smile
As him I vocally revile
And curse him out with gall and bile
And curse him out with gall and bile.


This article originally appeared on Ragan in 2015.

COMMENT Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from directly in your inbox.