(dashes as punctuation marks)

The Dash

How dashing the dash is
So straight and so narrow.
It aims at a word like a spearor an arrow
And luckily hasn't a point at one end
Or it mightJust by accident
Puncture a friend.

But don't call it pointlessit passes for many
For comma, parenthesesjust about any.
It dashes about with the greatest devotion.
It's blunt,
It's abrupt
It creates a commotion.

It's used to gain emphasis, vigor, a touch
Of surpriseand it's alsoby some
Used too much.

—This poem is compiled from On Your Marks, A Package of Punctuation
by Richard Armour; McGraw-Hill Book Company; New York; 1969; page 31.

For other marks of punctuation, go to the Index of Punctuation Marks unit.