P-alliterative and tetrametric lines

…  front-accented (especially trochaic) tetrametric, in fact. Separately and in concert.  Notably combined in

purple rainbow puppy pen (SW SW SW S)

which is the household name for this object, recently acquired by Kim Darnell at a local vet’s office and now added to my cabinet of curiosities display:


Tetrameter is all over English verse: end-accented in some forms (like the iambic tetrameter of C.M., or common meter, hymns —, with a rest in place of the fourth iamb in lines 2and 4 — or the anapestic tetrameter of limericks), front-accented in many popular forms (trochaic tetrameter especially, but dactylic in some, like the double dactyl form).

As for alliteration, especially with /p/, from my 3/8/13 posting “Zippialliterate”, on a Zippy strip:

Alliteration in modern English serves mostly playful purposes — in tongue twisters (“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”), brand names (PayPal), formulaic expressions (pleased as punch), and the like. It was a standard poetic device in Old English, and is the basis for the occasional alliterative poems written today.

A related phenomenon is the use of stuttering in music, as in the Papageno/Papagena duet from the Magic Flute (“Pa pa pa …”).

The title of the cartoon in that posting is “Please peruse”:


The text:

Zippy peeked into Peabody Peterson’s private parlor.

Inside, Peterson peered at his perspiring punim, paranoid over his purely Platonic passion for peculiar podiatrists.

When prize-winning professor Petrov Patchingplaster became privy to the peeking and peering, he paused… then proclaimed… That’s it .. I’m converting to Presbyterianism!

For the Yinglish-deprived, from NOAD:

noun punimNorth American informal (chiefly in Jewish use) a person’s face: look at that punim, as my grandma would say! | how can you not love this punim? ORIGIN Yiddish ponempunem, from Hebrew pānīm.

As for the Mozart, the reunion duet begins:

Papageno: Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena!
Papagena: Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Papageno!

Papageno: Bist du mir nun ganz ergeben? [freely translated] ‘Are you really all mine now?’
Papagena: Nun bin ich dir ganz ergeben! ‘Now I really am all yours.’
Papageno: Nun so sei mein liebes Weibchen! ‘So now be my darling little wife!’
Papagena: Nun so sei mein Herzenstäubchen! ‘So now be the little dove of my heart!’

[They go on to sing about all the children they will have.]

You can watch Boston Lyric Opera cast members performing “Papageno Papagena” in the WERS-FM studio (2013) by clicking on the link.

Or you could go for Madonna. From Wikipedia:

“Papa Don’t Preach” is a song by American singer Madonna from her third studio album True Blue (1986). The song was written by Brian Elliot with additional lyrics by Madonna, who produced it with Stephen Bray. … The song’s musical style combines pop and classical styling, and its lyrics deal with teenage pregnancy and abortion. It was based on teen gossip Elliot heard outside his recording studio.

(You can watch the video here.)

Then there’s the latest scheme for generating pseudonyms for special purposes — formulas for generating porn names, drag names, and so on, as discussed in my 4/18/09 posting “NPR names”. One standard scheme for drag names gives the excellent Rice Highand, which I’ve occasionally used as a pseudonym. A recent scheme for generating your Star Wars star destroyer name (the color of your shirt + the name of the last thing you ate) made me Purple Cobb, which isn’t bad. But then along came a generator for NPR names (your favorite pattern + the name of a deceased singer-songwriter), which makes me Paisley Prince — P-alliterative and nicely allusive to Prince’s Paisley Park (his one-time home and recording studio in Chanhassen MN, and the name of his record label).

(#3) The Paisley Park logo

The whole package. Front-accented tetrameter and P-alliteration in one package, along with gay purple and gay rainbow puppies:

purple rainbow puppy pen
( SW SW SW S )

(5 syllable-initial Ps and one syllable-initial B — an almost-P — in only four words, so definitely P-heavy).

That reminded me of that great purple novelty song from my high-school years, about a:

one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater

(where W indicates a syllable that’s metrically weak, but secondarily accented in pronunciation; the meter is thus interestingly complex). From Wikipedia:

[Sheb Wooley’s 1958 song] “The Purple People Eater” tells how a strange creature (described as a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater”) descends to Earth because it wants to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band. The premise of the song came from a joke told by the child of a friend of Wooley’s; Wooley finished composing it within an hour.

(You can listen to the recording here.) The song has an intriguing ambiguity:

[ purple people ] [ eater ] vs. [ purple ] [ people eater ]

and has half-rhymes in purple people and people eater, but has only the modest alliteration of Papa Don’t Preach, Paisley Prince, and Paisley Park, not the impressive P-roll in #2. For an entire P-heavy line, Kim Darnell was reminded of a much more recent novelty song, the earwormish-insidious “PPAP”, with its central line:

( S SW W SW S )

From Wikipedia:

(#4) Cover art for “PPAP”

“PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)” (Japanese: ペンパイナッポーアッポーペン [pen painappō appō pen]) is a single by Pikotaro, a fictional singer-songwriter created and portrayed by Japanese comedian Daimaou Kosaka. It was released as a music video on YouTube on 25 August 2016, and has since become a viral video. As of June 2018, the official video has been viewed almost 200 million times, spawned parodies, and has been hailed as the new “Gangnam Style” by various newspapers and online media.

… Kosaka said in an interview that he came up with the song sitting in his house. He was listening to the tune when he picked up a pen to start writing. He thought about his background of being from Japan’s biggest apple-producing region (Aomori Prefecture) as he also realized that he had an open can of pineapples on the table.

You can watch the performance here. (There’s also a cat version. And a chipmunk version.) The text:


[Verse 1]
I have a pen, I have a apple
Uh! Apple-Pen!

[Verse 2]
I have a pen, I have pineapple
Uh! Pineapple-Pen!

[Verse 3]
Apple-Pen, Pineapple-Pen
Uh! Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen

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