Who Doesn’t Love Palindromes?

On this dreary, weary, rainy, foggy Good Friday, I am wading through my bookie nooks rather than through watery depths outside. I chanced upon some palindromes so I thought I’d share them. For the uninitiated, a palindrome is a sentence or group of words that say the same thing backwards and forwards. The simplest and best known is “Madam, I’m Adam.” Here are others:

Able was I ere I saw Elba

Eros? Sidney, my end is sore!

Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.

Draw pupil’s lip upward.

Swen nixes sex in news.

Do nine men interpret? Nine men, I nod.

Rise to vote, sir.

The incomparable Willard R Espy, from whose Almanac of Words at Play and Another Almanac of Words at Play I have drawn these nifty treats, argues that our oldest palindrome might be the words found by archeologists, written on the wall of an ancient Roman tavern: “ROMA SUMMUS AMOR.” This adds another layer of mystery, though, since we don’t know whether the Latin wag referred to love of Rome or a less savory form of love.


He goddam mad dog, eh?

Sex at noon taxes.

Flee to me, remote elf.

Dennis and Edna sinned.


One of my favorites, which uses words rather than letters to create palindromic whimsy is:

You can cage a swallow, can’t you, but you can’t swallow a cage, can you?