My first poetry teacher, Paul Hoover, once said to us (quoting Eliot — or was it Pound? I think it was Eliot): "All mishearings are poetry." Probably half of every poem I write consists of mishearings — I've trained my brain to rearrange what I hear. So just now I almost burned the pierogies when I heard on the radio (on John Schafer's WNYC show "Soundcheck") that there's actually a word for these mishearings, and it's been around for a while, too: mondegreens. I won't explain why "mondegreen," since I'm sure it's only me who doesn't know this. Anyway, on the show, listeners called in to share their fave mondegreens from pop and rock songs. Here are some, excluding the totally obvious ones by Hendrix and CCR:
" ... is it just a debt to be a debt to me" (from the Knack's "My Sharona" — the song I hate most in this world, btw)
" ... a fake Chinese Robert Plant" (from Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees")
"Jeez, a slushy Mormon you may know" (from S&G's "Mrs. Robinson")
" ... stepped on her Pop-Tart" (from Warren Buffett's brother's "Margaritaville")
"Call the Coast Guard!" (from the Ohio Players' "Love Roller Coaster")
Now THIS may be the best mondegreening of any song: Joe Cocker doing "With A Little Help From My Friends" at Woodstock, with subtitles:
Please feel free to post your poetic mondegreens in the comments field, knowing that I will probably use them in a poem if you haven't. Or even if you have!