What is POFP?

Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?

Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poetic Justice

My fellow Brooklynite, Russell Bittner, tells me that he is working "on a series of poems for snarky children that I intend to market to the children of lawyers -- and, by extension, to those children's parents, many of whom I assume to be equally as snarky."

"Snarky," according to the OED, means "irritable, short tempered," from "snark," meaning either to snort or to nag.

And so here, for all you kids out there, is one of Russell's creations -- Nolens Volens (willing or not).
Nolens Volens

My friend Nolens – just like me –
goes to bed unwillingly.
Nolens thinks that sleep is rot;
Mom, however, thinks it’s not.

“What the heck,” – I hear Nol say –
“sleeping leads to tooth decay!”
Nolens has a point, I think;
Mom, however, doesn’t blink.

“Sleep’s not right for guys like us –
guys who spit and curse and cuss!”
Nol – it’s clear – loves sacred texts;
Mom politely genuflects.

Then, as I’m about to swear,
I see Nolens grab his bear,
hibernate, and take a chair
high up where there’s no there there.

Nolens’s fingers, once asleep,
leave off fleecing Bo Peep’s sheep –
wherein I discern the rub:
Nol has fallen for the cub.

I next grumble fitfully
as the clock strikes half past three,
sinking me with each dull clink –
Mom, however, doesn’t shrink.

She, instead, has darker plans:
“Afternoons,” she countermands,
“aren’t – like mornings – made for naps;
pillows take the place of laps.”

Volens now unmasks my frown
as Mom gently swings me down,
sending me between the sheets
into rapture that entreats

me to ask for one more thing
to divest of sleep its sting:
that while sucking on my thumb,
I can call old Nol my ‘chum.’