Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Limericks / Luinneagan Luimneach

Chomsky cuts to the bone –
The West is hegemony prone.
Yet I greatly fear
Cons will not hear
Anything more than an enemy drone!
‘Concordia’ will soon get a heave
To float it again, and relieve
 Giglio’s marred coast
Of Schettino’s white ghost –
But he’s wrecked, with no hope of reprieve.

What happened to the Scots at Flodden?
Quite simply, the ground was sodden.
They stuck in the mud,
And sank in the flood –
And re-enacted it all at Culloden.

Let's hope that the message is clear –
Stand firm, if you hold your life dear;
If you like the old bog,
And love a good sog,
Just refer to the end of ’um here!
If you like the old bog,
And love a good sog,
Just refer to the end of 'um here!
The NR ‘Stephen Gough’ is in dock,
Wearing only boot-topping and sock;
But with a video link
His hull’s in the pink –
Bottom line is ‘Please do not shock!’
Uri has gone round the bend;
His vibes have come to an end;
A post-box in Sonning
Is a spoonful too cunning –
Me(n)tal blocks put a stop to his ‘Send’!
Sarah has broken her tether
In stormy political weather;
It frayed in the strain
Of  the ToryLib rain,
And lightning attacks split the leather.
There’s just no point in disputin’
That truth lies with the tribes of Putin:
The tune for Dave’s boast
Should be the ‘Last Post’ -
GB’s in its grave through self-shootin’.
Dave’s Empire has split into two,
And what a farcical, angry to-do!
The war against Ed
Now blasts full ahead –
Demonocracy at home in full view!
For crowing, craking and honking,
The environment here is quite stonking!
With a new Ranger,
Nothing’s in danger,
Except humans – give them a good clonking!
 Before laying new pipes in Tiree,
The corncrake croaks its ‘Hear me;
You daren’t move
Until I approve -
I’m boss, and Tiree is wee, wee!’
‘The delay in work starting was not simply down to corncrakes on any old land, but that almost the entire route of the new pipes runs through the middle of the EU protected Corncrake Special Protection Area, meaning that there is a legal obligation to prevent disturbance during the breeding season.’  That bird sure has power – and I’m not referring to the Editor.  Back to work on ‘any old land’ this week….What makes land special and valuable is the rule of the EU-backed corncrake.  Och, och.
Dave’s company offers a cruise;
There’s no better option to choose;
It imposes no strain,
On mind or on brain;
Press the button – you’ve nothing to lose.
How did the natives contrive
To keep culture and wildlife alive,
Before Captain Cook
Gave Tahiti a look,
And Banks’ boffins began to arrive?
The experts, of course, came to show
The way the world had to go:
The en-viron-ment
They had to invent –
The natives were much too gung-ho!
So – shoot the natives’ backsides,
Reduce their numbers besides;
Give the geese fun,
Let them ruin each run,
While the natives are holed in their hides!
As I am currently in Tiree, I am at a loss to know why this three-decker limerick should have emerged from my head, while I was clearing my study/bookstore and having a wee squint at an assessment of Chomsky.  What on earth do ‘Banks’ boffins’ have to do with Tiree or any of the other islands?  I think the inspiration lies in the leading article in the current ‘Tirisdeach’, which tells us the happy story that the population of Tiree has dropped from 770 to 653 between 2001 and 2011.   But in the meantime, the geese have to be protected, and I am quite sure that their numbers have soared in the same decade.
How strange to be led by two fish,
Of a kind that would grace any dish;
A salmon is wise,
A sturgeon’s a prize,
And both swimming together – real swish!
'What is Tian Tian going to do?’
Is the question up at the Zoo.
‘Deny this sTory
Or Labour for glory,
And provide a Yes-cub for Eck’s coup?’
Alas for Old England’s piers!
They are falling apart, one fears!
Ruined by cost,
Progressively lost,
Another great pier disappears!
An item on the news a few minutes ago prompted these observations.  This grim ‘disappeerage’ is spreading, and piers with a facility for ballroom dancing will soon be hard to find.  What a loss this will be to English culture!  No wonder the UK has to endure the creation of very shoogly piers to shore up the nation – ‘people’s piers’, as they are known.
A wonderful game was cricket
For bringing natives out of the thicket;
Donning white togs
And plimsolls as clogs,
They bowled a hard ball at the wicket!
A North British contribution to postcolonial literature, inspired by the tremendous victory of the Home Counties’ team.   There’s no rest for the wicket these days.
 Victory is hard to contain,
As ashes to splashes makes plain;
‘No rest’ I once joked –
 Now the wicket’s been soaked
In English Cricket’s most glorious reign.
 Elaine is at last flying high
Through the ceiling that’s up in the sky;
As she travels West,
She’ll give of her best –
Air Vice-Marshall is not a soft pie!
Elaine West has become the RAF’s first female Air Vice-Marshall.  That’s very good news, and congratulations to her.
Exeter tells a fast tale
Of the night-time speed of the snail:
One metre per hour
When going full power –
No pit-stops when it hits the trail!
The most recent research in this field (!) by the University of Exeter informs us that snails travel in convoy at night, and that they can move at the staggering speed mentioned above.  Now, when I was a boy in Tiree, I realised that putting snails in convoy was an ideal way to make them speed along, and I used to organise my own Snail Olympics for these fine athletes.  I even used to put a Bolt in their way to challenge their skills at hurdling.  I could have sent Exeter my results free of charge, and saved the research councils a tidy sum.
A plague of elastic bands
Is spreading across our fair lands;
In gutter and street,
They lie at our feet;
Change a letter – litter falls from posts’ hands!

The problem is, I think, caused when postmen take the bands off packs of letters designated for particular streets or areas, in order to put them through letter-boxes etc. I have several boxes of elastic bands here which I picked up from pavements.

The problem is, I think, caused when postmen take the bands off packs of letters designated for particular streets or areas, in order to put them through letter-boxes etc. I have several boxes of elastic bands here which I picked up from pavements.
A beautiful phrase is ‘bin blight’;
As rubbish it sounds about right;
Now we progress
To clean up the mess –
But cleaning the mess caused our plight!
That Lupo is no middling hound;
He’s taken royalty over the bound;
He’s king of his palace
And admits of no malice –
He’s looping the loop three times round!
Doting Grandpa has taken some pics
Of the Dog, Kate and Wills and Wee Tricks;
But the Dog stowle the show,
And now it’s, ‘Ow, ow!
Royal Geoyge should have got the Big Licks!’
That grim word ‘Ref-er-en-DUM’

Booms forth like the beat of a drum;
But ‘Yes’ or ‘No’,
There’s further to go;
It is not Scotland’s substance or sum.
Will Scotland say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
Or will it be ‘Nes’ or ‘Yo’?
Or even ‘Don’t know,
Till you tell me so’?
In dependence in union’s our show!
Let’s welcome High Speed Two,
But who will see it right through?
With runaway prices
Causing a crisis,
Will this rocket ever reach crew(e)?
 Our good friend Alistair Darling
Has recently done some snarling:
‘Dear HS2
Just will not do –
It is time to shoot down my old star-ling!’
Clanranald has fired out his cross:
‘O Clansmen, I am now at a loss!
My heart would burn
If you would return,
Dig your roots, and find loot for your boss!’
Aye, if you’re a Clanranald MacDonald, you’ll be getting your invitation to the Arisaig Highland Games in 2014.  You will be most welcome, be assured of that, but your cash will be even more welcome in the context of ‘An Tilleadh’.  (‘The Return’ – Ouh, houw neyce to use a wuhd o two of thet owld baabaavous lenguage!)   The idea is that all the old roots will be gathered into some appropriate receptacle, and that the disinherited but wealthy will pay for the privilege of pulling their roots out of the compost.   In short, ‘loot for root’ is the plan.  These emigrant gatherings make me want to sharpen my claymore – and I’m not referring to the ship.
The Plantagenet Alliance proposes
To refight the Wars of the Roses;
For Skeleton Dick
Only York does the trick;
What rot exhumation exposes!
According to today’s ‘P & J’, Skeleton Dick’s Plantagenet descendants are going to take the Justice Secretary and the University of Leicester to court to make its case for burying Dickie at York.   Earth-shattering, indeed, and we could bury it, were it not for the utter hypocrisy of the relatives, who can always be guaranteed to turn up if there is something to be gained from a grave.  Dickie has been under the sod, not to mention the car park, for over 500 years.  I am not aware that any of his descendants in recent years (I can’t speak for the centuries) made any attempt to find him, and the University of Leicester had to trace his descendants.  So here they are now – ‘trooping all together, / Green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather’.  And, of course, a rose in their lapels.   Well, they don’t smell of roses to me – rather more of cadavers.
A posh Brummy hotel and spa
Will serve drinks if you’re nude at the Baah;
But just think how chronic
To quaff gin and tonic
With endless flashing of flesh all ‘Yaah, yaah’!
Inspired (if that is the right word?) by an article in today’s ‘i’.  ‘I’ take it that the Naked Rambler would be welcome there, if he popped in on his way north?   Brum is ‘Yaah, yaah’?  Ha, ha, ha!  The whole thing is utterly incongruous.  No black tie, please.  We are too serious for that.
When Desperate Dan played some tennis,
His opponent was Dennis the Menace;
Their volleys, not small,
Used a large cannon ball,
And their rackets were heard west of Ennis.
 An athletic young fellow from Gunna
Considered himself a fine runna;
On the first high tide,
He got into his stride –
That he drowned in the Sound is no wunna!
Dave’s Armada will sail into Gib
With the Union Jack on its jib;
The top gallant Boy
Will call out, ‘Ahoy!
Nelson’s here, and will crack every RIB!’
The Spaniards today have gone fishing
Over concrete blocks – so here’s wishing
That hook, line and sinker
They’ll catch a real stinker
To give Jose and Dave a good dishing!

Aunt Malvina is settling old scores,
And her army is now on our shores;
An invasion of ants
Will land in our pants –
Frantic ant-ics with scratching and roars!

A news alert this morning on Radio 4 warned the already stressed-out Brits that Argentinian ants have taken to containerised cruising, by finding cosy nooks for themselves on board container-ships.

Bravo, three cheers and hooray!
Dave's dynamite fleet sails today!
The Med will resound
To its thunderous pound –
Boom, boom! Britain's ruling OK!
 Argentina is terrorising the globe, and people are scratching where Anty Malvina is itching. I am sure Dave will have alerted the appropriate committee to take precautions, given the 'febrile' state of international - not to say 'imperial' - relations at the moment. In fact, I've heard that a special form of protective underwear, called 'anti-historene deflective combinations' (ADCs for shorts), is being issued to all military personnel, and especially those heading for the 'rock' with Dave's task-force. A spokesperson, visibly scratching frantically as he spoke to waiting reporters, said, 'If proper anti-antic measures are not put in place immediately to counteract this latest form of germ warfare, it is feared that many British citizens will be seeking

Dave is now sending the fleet;
His diplomacy never was neat;
One shot from a gun
Will make the Spans run;
Fire a squib for old Gib - no retreat!
‘The Falklands are famous,’ said Dave;
‘Argentina’s Malvina’s our slave!’
‘The people of Gib
Must never be glib;
THis panic demands they be brave!’
This was composed in response to a challenge from a FB friend to compose a limerick which included the words, Falklands, Dave, Argentina, Gib and Hispanic; I did so, and added Malvinas for good measure.

Since Gib has gibbed at the altar,
The Hispanic affair must falter;
But dear Argentina
Still courts Malvina,
Though Dave keeps her tight on the halter!
Gib is being rocked by a reef;
Its neighbours are giving it grief;
Closing the border
Is creating disorder –
Red herring bring Spain some relief!

Since Jeremy now has a beard,
His barber-ous image is feared;
But by growing a hedge,
He may lose his edge,
And his points will have to be cleared!
Thanks to cloud-bursts and splashes,
England has retained the Ashes!
No need to bat –
Cook lifts the vat
And bowls with liquid in lashes!
Who then is that Peter Capaldi?
Who’s that ancient Van Dyke-looking baldy?
He’s the one to choose
Among all the Whose
Who could soon be giving Whom laldy!
The word ‘toxic’ is toxic, I think;
It gives off a linguistic stink;
Starting with chemicals,
It stains academicals,
And poisons the way that we think.
I hate the ‘fad words’ of our age.  ‘Toxic’ seems to have become ‘popular’ (?) when reporters like Robert Peston began to use it of debt etc.   I had not heard it used beyond the world of chemicals until the ‘credit crunch’ arrived, and now it seems to pop up everywhere, adding another short-cut to our ever-diminishing capacity to use the English language properly.  We are becoming imitators of the media, with shallow, populist, sound-bite vocabulary.  Are we in danger of becoming ‘Peston parrots’?
What a come-down for old Inverkip!
Its chimney is now in the skip!
The beautiful tower
That once produced power
Will guide no more boats to the slip!

Lord, help me now to donate
To the party before it's too late
To purchase my seat
With ermine replete,
And appear with the good and the great!

Time for a hymn or a songa
About the outfit that calls itself Wonga:
Justin's own goal
Gets right to its soul -
He should leave it aloan a lot longa!

Whenever we look for a van,
We think 'Transit - the glory of Man';
But when this fine mode
Is at the end of the road,
What on Monday can carry the can?

The terrible news has been made public. The production of the Ford Transit van is to cease. The downfall of Man is bound to accelerate as a result, as a world without the 'Tranny vanny' is impossible to imagine. Sic transit gloria mundi. Ita vero. Tuesday is unthinkable...

A new son now shines on The Nation,
And the mood is one of elation;
Labour's the (s)tory,
And all about glory -
But clouds will precede coronation!

The Pope has set off for Rio,
Are Where he will be welcomed 'con brio';
But reporters, I swear,
camping elsewhere,
Just to see Number Three of the trio!


When Albert (our Bertie!) was king,
He thought 'George' had a far better ring;
George I, II, III
Were daft as could be -
So will VII be the pure, perfect thing?

The question arises as to who 'George VII' will really be. I'd not be too keen to be known as 'King Charles', given all the woes that beset those thus named. Has the name actually prevented Chas from becoming king, or are there other reasons (much less significant, of course, such as a long-living and extremely fit mother)?   Is ‘7’ still regarded as a perfect number?   If the Georges have shown such an improvement as they have climbed the digits, and if they are now on the point of perfection, there may be some hope for the Charleses.  PS  As an admirer of King Oliver (refused), I regret that he (Olly) didn’t go the whole hog. there other reasons (much less significant, of course, like a long-living and extremely fit mother)? Is '7' still regarded as a perfect number? If the Georges showed such an improvement as they climbed the digits, and if they are now on the brink of perfection, there may be some hope for the Charleses! PS: As an admirer of King Oliver (refused), I'm sorry he (Olly) didn't go the whole hog.
When Skeleton Dick met his Docs,
He told them he needed Botox;
‘My bones are so rotten
That only Doc Totton
Can make me look good in my box.’
Dr Leah Totton has won this year’s Sugar Daddy award in ‘The Apprentice’.  She intends to set up ‘non-surgical cosmetic clinics’ to ‘help the aged’ to deal with the wrinkles and crinkles.   It’s a truly admirable ideal for a doctor, I think.  Nothing could be more needed in our day, and it’s just right for our friend Skeleton Dick, who will want to look his best when he is placed in his new raised tomb in Leicester – relatives permitting, of course.  Roll back the centuries, Doc Totton!  You can do that easily with Lord Sugar’s commendation to sweeten your prospects.

If you fancy a wedding at sea,
Why knot try the lovely 'Heb P'?
Jolie and Pit
Think she is fit
For a glamorous bash off Tiree!
On the croft we had a black cù,
Yet it was not a white coo;
But now a good coup
Can be red or blue –
Or, like the guile on the Nile, c-through!

The new tennis ball is called 'Andy'.
Politicians regard it as 'handy';
With the right spin,
It can go out or in,
With net gains and no losses - it's candy!

Oor Andy as umpire sits tight
While Dave plays deep to the right;
His back-handed volley
Will stop Salmond's folly:
Britain's game has advantage to-(k)night.

Ten cheers for Theresa called May;
The Abu has now gone away!
Pray for a cordon
Yonder in Jordan
To give him a very long stay!
What with Andy's win and the big perty at 10 Downing (showing how easily politics can be kept out of sport!), the departure of the Abu at long, long last (showing how easily the 'unwanted' can stay in politics!), and the Falkirk Fracas (apparently showing how easily ‘undesirables’ can be brought into politics!), David Cameron must now be singing his own version of ‘The Good Old Summer Time’.  I hope Theresa will send the £2 million bill to Jordan too. It'll help the deficit - just a little. In-out, in-out, in-out....Theresa is serving to David at the moment, and it's a deuce of a game.cting Labour (apparently showing how easily 'undesirables' can be brought into politics), David Cameron must be singing his own version of 'The Good Old Summer Time'. I hope Theresa will send the £2 million bill to Jordan too. It'll help the deficit - just a little. In-out, in-out, in-out....Theresa is serving to David at the moment, and it's a deuce of a game.cting Labour (apparently showing how easily 'undesirables' can be brought into politics), David Cameron must be singing his own version of 'The Good Old Summer Time'. I hope Theresa will send the £2 million bill to Jordan too. It'll help the deficit - just a little. In-out, in-out, in-out....Theresa is serving to David at the moment, and it's a deuce of a game.

A salute to ex-Major Joyce
For giving his colleagues a choice!
Go for UNITE
Or continue to fight,
While your foes have cause to re-joice!


Goodness me! Eric Joyce sure packs a punch, even outside the bars of the House, but I never thought he would put the Falkirk crew on their backs - and the Labour Party nationwide too, for good measure. Hey ho! Now they are all fighting - Ed the Red, Tom the Bomb, and the troopers down the line. Aye, it's 'joyce' and 're-joyce' all the way. Good luck to them all!

Skerryvore rose high to our lee
As 'Boudicca' was passing Tiree:
That Stevenson tower
Stands proud with great power –
Guiding light for all sailors at sea!
A cruise-ship once passing Dounreay
Was stung by an electric ray;
Said the Captain, ‘The nuke
Is banned in my book,
But I just can’t keep those fissions at bay!’
A house on a cliff’s highest top
Receives its supplies without stop:
Tesco’s red chopper
Just opens its hopper –
It’s truly ‘You shop, and we drop!’
Some of us spent quite a bit of time gaping at a house right up on the top of a cliff, and trying to work out how on earth the owners (a) got up there, (b) got down from there, and (c) did the shopping.  I composed this limerick as my solution to the problem.  This, and all the limericks in the sequence, were composed ‘on location’, and hastily scribbled down.
As tourists looked over the gunwale,
They saw a most beautiful tunnel:
A car disappeared,
But nobody feared –
It emerged from the top of our funnel!
This was composed at Flam.  Someone (who will not be identified for legal reasons) became concerned about the ‘vanishing cars’. 
‘Boudicca’ cut a fine sight
As she went through a fjord so tight
That two mountain goats
Jumped into the boats –
And supplied her with milk for the night!
I have already posted some pictures of this truly stunning ‘deviation’ on the way from Flam.  I’ll keep recalling it to the end of my days.  The ‘deviation’ stopped outside Gudvangen, and the ‘Boudicca’ turned in her own length, with only metres to spare at bow and stern.
As Gunvangen hoves into view,
‘Boudicca’ applies her strong screw;
One-eighty degrees
Is a very tight squeeze –
But we’ll trust her to thrust her way through!
A Scottish sailor named Sam
Found a wealthy widow named Pam:
He said, ‘Let me steer,
And I’ll buy you a bier –
If there’s a will, there’s a way to the glam!’
The sheep in Norway wear bells;
They ring them up on the fells;
Their tails often tingle,
Their ears always jingle –
Their conductor with staff quite excels!
Such sheep were seen at Olden, and again at Flam.
From Norway in good Olden times,
Vikings sailed to the finest of climes:
They cruised through the ice,
Danced round looking nice,
And committed no heinous crimes.
We were told at the outset what lovely people the Vikings really were.  They weren’t nasty at all; they were settlers, tillers of the soil, warm-hearted human beings.  Well, try that one on a monk at Iona in 806 AD.
A cruise-ship once rounding Cape Wrath
Found a dirty great whale in its path;
When the Captain called, ‘Jonah,
Take that beast to Iona!’ –
It flipped its tail and gave him a bath!
They sail from Cape Wrath to Cape Clear,
‘Boudicca’, ‘Black Watch’, through the year;
‘Balmoral’, ‘Braemar’
Will carry you far –
Fred’s ships that we all hold so dear!
A few folk complained about prices…but my account with Fred Olsen was in the clear as soon as I saw Skerryvore!   No more needed!
Fred Olsen’s Captain named Stein
Loves to comfort his folk on the brine;
He greets you, ‘Good morning,
There’s been a gale warning,
But the forecast’s ferociously fine!’
Captain Stein is a great character, who loves his ship and his country, Norway, and clearly enjoys addressing his passengers: ‘Ladies aaaand Chen-til-mennnn, We are now leaving beautiful Alesund, and heading into a glorious evening in then wonderful Nordfjord, where you will see a magnificent sunset.   I sailed to Alaska for eleven years, and never saw anything like the waterfall that is round the next corner.  If you think you have seen the best of the best, believe me, the very best is still to come!’  It was a privilege to sail with him.   Talk about a sunny outlook – it was ‘liquid sunshine’ in Flam!  Aye, and the drops were quite a size!  A man truly made for his job!
Tiree’s Band is not broad;
In fact, it is narrowly flawed;
Its download is slow,
Its breaks give you woe,
And its gigs are horse-drawn – what a plod!
There must be another way….Can we make contact with a flying saucer?  Let’s try!  Chust for the sake of some ‘development’!  Aye, it’s a great word, ‘D-E-velopment’!  I savour every letter, and especially those sent by e-mail (when I can get it, that is).
What a day when the old ‘Mary’ rose,
And England recovered her pose!
Henry’s fine heirs
Now sit in posh chairs
Admiring their wreckage in rows!
The great ship, ‘Mary Rose’, i.e. what’s left of it, is now housed in a most splendid museum, which has been purpose-built, of course, for the trifling sum of a mere £27 million.  There’s no problem with austerity when national honour requires to be salvaged.  Henry is smiling smugly and broadly throughout the girth of his realm.  I can just see yon portrait in King’s College, Cambridge, in which Ennery looked down aughtily on the son of the crofter noisily supping his English prose.
Sam Plimsoll’s a great friend of mine;
His name in the annals will shine;
Ships sank without trace,
But he said, ‘This disgrace
Will be stopped when I draw the line!’

Said a merchant, 'I fear that my greed
Will be stopped if he should succeed;
I'd prefer to destroy
All those I employ
To maintain the great style I don't need.'

This was the attitude of many to Samuel Plimsoll. It ought to ring alarm bells in our own day too, as we still haven't tackled the totality of the underlying problem.
A jolly Scots poet Maclehose
Said, ‘I don’t want to appear morose,
But a time will come
When I will be dumb,
And my corpus will all de-compose!’
Was the great British Empire red
With all the blood that it shed?
Or did it chase night
By bringing bright light
And blue skies to black lands with grey lead?
How splendid that dear Mr Bean
Will go shortly to visit the Queen!
But Palace beware!
What a tragic affair
If the monarch becomes a ‘has Been’!
Rowan Atkinson has been awarded the CBE in the recent Honours List.  I have my own picture of Mr Bean arriving at Buck House in his yellow Mini, with a settee on top, and a Black & Decker drill in the boot.   He goes inside, and decides he knows a better way to hang a portrait of the Queen….Should I write the script for this one?  It could be a big breakthrough for myself and for Rowan – to say nothing of the Queen!
Alternatively, Rowan turns up in the said Mini, is ushered into the ante-chambers, becomes bored waiting for something to happen, and wanders off.   He discovers the chest containing the Queen’s robes, tries them on, finds a key to the safe with the insignia, puts the best of the crowns on his head….and ascends the throne with that lovely grunt of achievement.  There he poses, making faces and noises and looking in mirrors, until he decides to have another wee look round, and finds another door.  In walk the corgis, and he dashes round with crown and gown, trying to shoo them out.  He decides to lift the stair carpet to get the corgis back down to the hallway, and begins rolling it up, just as the Queen begins to ascend the stair….He releases the roll in shock, and it goes thundering down towards her Majesty! There must be a Mr Bean comedy in there somewhere, just to commemorate the occasion.  The Queen would love it!
When Venus appeared to Cook,
His men all swore by the Book
That they would never
Abandon endeavour
To get the closest and clearest look.
There once was a shepherd called Shooey
Who tended some sheep in Ardlui;
He was doon in the mooth
An’ lang in the tooth,
An’ his sheepfold was known as Feng Shui.
Nigel must render account
Concerning a tidy amount
That he salted away
In a most Manly way –
‘UKEEP’ will be hard to surmount!


The buoy that marks Corran Ledge
Gave the rest of the buoys a pledge;
'The next silly ass
Who does a port pass,
Will ground on the grit of my edge.'

He proved his words were no sport
As 'Serenissima' sailed into port;
In the evening sun
He gave her some fun -
Her bottom will now need support!
The small cruise ship 'Serenissima' (ex-'Harald Jarl', 1964, former Hurtigruten ship) grounded briefly on the Corran Ledge in the late evening of 20.05.2013, having attempted the 'inside passage'.   She was floated off about 1.00 a.m.


When Einstein's opinion is aired,
It's by those who say more than he dared;
For the 'environ-ment',
What Albert aye meant
Was 'E = M C squared.'

That is the heart of the matter;
Everything else is mere tatter;
If mass is destroyed,
And energy's buoyed,
Just see how our Andy will scatter!

These verses were composed in honour of my good friend Andy Gillespie,
 who tells me that he was in school with Einstein, and knows Albert's definition of the 'environment' (= 'everything except me'), which is OK, but not entirely accurate - and I'd doubt if Albert said that!


A banker called Sung Won Yoo
Was speeding along as yoo doo,
But on the Lockerbie run,
He exceeded the ton,
Because her ladyship needed the loo....

...and he ended up as a front-page story in 'The Herald'. Eh? Why? Just because he was a banker, I think. Not good. I thought I would try 'The Herald' to see how it compared with the Edinburgh Rag. The same two-thirds, more or less, went into the bin straight off - I'm not one to worry about who knows Victoria Beckham, though I'm sure others are desperate to find out. However, I get the impression (a first scan) that the reporting may be better, and at least there are different correspondents in the Letters section. Mind you, give it a month's trial, and you'll be on first-name terms with them all. I remember when 'The Scootsman' had a regular correspondent from a place called 'Spout Wells', and my brain kept reading it as 'Spouts Well', and not without reason. The well eventually ran dry - again, not surprisingly.

In Edinburgh the One o' Clock Gun
Blasts its rocket right into the sun;
But when it's mere cloud,
The bang's just as loud;
The volley's not folly, it's fun!


Gosh! Here comes the next asteroid!
How on earth will we(e) humans avoid
Its mighty great piles
At 36 million miles?
A 'near miss', I would say, in this void.


The latest tale the media latch onto
Concerns the Mayor of Toronto;
That he is now 'black',
Because he smoked crack -
And, of course, he's denying it pronto!


A grumpy old codger named Reith
Had very ill-fitting false teeth;
He put them out on a chair,
And forgot they were there,
Until they bit him quite hard from beneath.


As one who has sat upon ants,
And felt their sharp nip in my pants,
I'd say, 'Listen, Dave;
Just be extra brave -
Take them off, and abandon the rants!'


Chief Kipper Nigel Farage
Swam into a nasty barrage;
In a dub on the Mile,
That fish lost its smile -
Anti-U stirred a stormy pass-age.

This encounter occurred in Edinburgh's Royal Mile on 16.5.2013.


There was a young lady called Irene
Who enjoyed the flavour of styrene;
'It makes a fine cake
Which I don't need to bake,
And re-usable too, and no ice-een!'


A crofter too fond of his ale
Once went to Tiree's cattle sale;
He bought a fine cow,
But next day, what a row!
She had four wheels, not four legs, and no tail!


Though Vicky is now down at heel,
She's sure to gain from 'the deal'.
The power of the book
To float every crook
Will put her back on a nice, even keel.

Ms Pryce is being very clever.  Her time in prison has apparently become a 'field trip', part of a 'project' and perhaps even a 'programme', but certainly a 'research assignment', which will empower her and her new book, 'Prisonomics' (yes, that's the title).  So it will all be to the good - no shame there.  Far from it; this seems to have been what contemporary clap-trap calls a 'learning opportunity'.  I'd have been running from public view at this stage, and going into long-term obscurity, if I had been in her position.


I see Blogsy and Togs are 'now friends';
The wonder therein never ends!
This harmonious sound
Goes all the world round -
Global peace on dear Facebook depends!

At the heart of FB and other electronic media of a comparable kind (Tweeting?) is the investing of 'old' words with a 'new' significance, or the divesting of older words of their earlier significance, to fit them for a new form of electronically-linked community. What is the meaning of 'friend' in FB terms? It's hardly that of 'friend' as we used to know it - someone you speak to regularly using the human voice, a handshake etc. So, if you 'read' the FB codes in terms of the 'old' world of human face-to-face interaction, they sound ostentatious, bizarre and sometimes silly. I have many FB 'friends' whom I have never met, and who are not, in old-style terms, friends. They may become old-style friends, but for the present they are 'electronically-created contacts'. In that context, FB announcements can sound overly dramatic, claiming far more than they really represent. I am sure some bright spark has already written a PhD on 'The Significance of Electronic Communication for the English Language'. Perhaps there is already a book on the subject.....


You can't keep a good man down;
So Gordon has come back to town;
His message is 'No,
For I told you so,
And I'm Capability Brown!'

Gordon Brown has broken his silence at last (14.5.2013), which is a great relief to us all.  He seems to be labouring on behalf of the Conservatives.


All cows in the land will decide,
When Damien Hirst will have died,
That they'll make a potion
Of their udder lotion -
And use it as for-mal-da-hyde.

Which 'udder lotion' will it be, I wonder?  I doubt if it will be milk, somehow.  I see that Damien Hirst is now pleased to tell us all (14.5.2013) that he too has been pickled in the past.


Cameron will drool his 'Yum, yum'
When cooking the referen-dum;
He'll offer pie in the sky,
And a sweet by and by,
But Brussels must be G-M-ed for his tum!


'I am reminded here of the famous Russian novelist Pablo Neruda, who had a great insight into the music of birds when he was walking on the Great Wall of China.   The wall, he wrote, should be no barrier to the appreciation of the poetry and musicology implicit in the mundane and the utterly banal all around us.  It was a visionary moment for me, and it made me think of the parallel with the Hebrides, and especially the words of one of our own great bards, an Domhnallach Macanta, who once composed a verse in honour of the corncrake, mar a leanas:

A beautiful bird is the crake;
I note its fine tune for its sake;
As morning breaks,
The croaker crakes,
With croaking and craiking - no brake.

The Wordsworthian sentiments of Iain Duncan Smith, the author of 'Consider the Daffodils', which lie behind this verse, will be evident to anyone familiar with world literature in its global dimensions.'

Chan eil fhios agam co air thalamh a sgriobh an sgudal seo.


Lovely Mary Carmichael and me
Often met in the isle of Tiree;
But in Kolbin's Ay
We had a great day -
When I met her again for my tea!


When rounding the Mull of Kintyre,
The 'Dunara' was often quite dire;
Fighting tempest and tide,
As she rolled on her side,
Pallid passengers prayed to expire.


I once met a dressy old fox
Who wore a pair of blue socks.
When I said, 'Prey,
They'll give you away',
He said, 'They'll help me give pause to the flocks!' 


'Do you intend to vote for the Kippers?'
Said the lythe to the fish with red flippers.
'You must be a cod,'
Said the fish that was odd -
'I'm Flounder Farage wearing slippers!'

I see that UKIP supporters are now known as 'Kippers'.  That prompted this effusion.  NF is trying to fish for votes in any case, and is transforming himself into a pint-swilling 'common-touch' type.  Is he just floundering about, or will he get a real catch - or will someone else catch him - next time round?


The Potteries have all had their day -
No china they'll make for your tray;
The famous Josiah
Is no coming Messiah,
Though he's always engrossed in the clay.

Josiah Wedgewood is buried in the graveyard of Stoke Minster.   His grave is extremely plain, with nothing to mark it but a reclining slab and a single-strand metal fence.  He is, however, commemorated at a fine centre outside Stoke.    It is sobering to stand at his grave, and to reflect on all that the china industry once meant for the Five Towns.  How different it is now!  The remnants of the industry survive, but nothing more.


The results for Nigel's U-KIP
Are giving the Tories some gyp.
The problem for Dave
Is defining the wave -
A tsunami to come, or mere blip?

Composed on 3 May 2013 in response to UKIP's growing share of the vote in local elections in England and Wales, and its gaining of second place (to Labour) in the South Shields by-election.  The war between Cameron and Farage is fascinating - and very amusing (to me).


Who would have been Douglas Haig,
A General who'd never renege?
He sank at the Somme,
So 'twas 'Boue a l'homme' -
He was 'stubborn', 'arrogant', 'vague'.


There was a young man from Otranto
Who tried to speak Esperanto:
He cried, 'C'est la vie',
Then said, 'Sie, sie',
And finished with 'Quanto et tanto'!


There once were two terrible twins
Who said, 'Here's where mischief begins!
But where it ends...
Well, that depends
On the number of beans in our tins!'


Here's to the Dear Little Green,
Glasgow, the city not mean,
Of tenements high
Blotting out sky,
And wonders that had to be seen!

By the Umbrella I frequently strayed,
And reached a lovely Arcade;
Behind glorious glass
Were ships that surpass
All models that man ever made!

It was a delight to the Gaels
To make the most of its sales;
In broad Sauchiehall,
A kind voice would call,
'A Dhomhnaill, have you got any tales?'

The Clyde was pure, but the Kelvin
Was just not a river to delve in;
It had a great name,
But its stink was a shame -
It once killed a man, and he felv in!

I now pine for the old Gleska tram,
Which rattled along with drab glam;
When crossing the points,
It jiggled my joints -
Wee Kiltie kissed the floor with a slam!

'No Spitting' it said on the wood,
And I wondered who could be so rude,
As to aim with a spittle,
Like throwing a skittle,
To give one in the eye to a prude!

The rumbling road called the Byres
Is a place that a toper admires;
Down in the Curlers
Some mighty fine hurlers
Drain the Quaich with a slurp that inspires!

But my delight was to roam by the Clyde
With ships and docks alongside,
Gantries and cranes,
Bollards and chains,
While new vessels arrived with each tide.

How different the river today!
Armadillos there hunt for their prey;
The arterial Clyde
Clogged up and died -
Glass houses with panes now hold sway!


I studied at fair Gilmorehill,
Where the wind in the cloisters was chill;
But Professor Fordyce
Knew how to melt ice -
Swimming the Tiber each day for a thrill!

In the Gardens named after the Lily,
Prof. Derick held sway like King Billy;
And if you were late
When he was in spate,
His frown was decidedly chilly!

I remember with the greatest of pleasure
The dulcet tones of dear Mr Gleasure;
His cardinal scale
Soared out of the Pale -
His guttural spirants I treasure!

The 'Marxist' who blew in from Harris
Did his best to try to embarrass
The hoary old toads,
Outclassed in their modes,
Thinking Gaelic the latest from Paris!

I laughed with wry Donald Howells,
The Taff with Demetian vowels;
Irish pronouns infixed
Had him transfixed -
But students were bored to their bowels!

We all loved Applecross Kenny,
Who turned, on the side, a nice penny,
By reading the news,
While admirers in queues
Swooned from remotest Kintyre to Ninepenny!

But the finest was Barra's Christine,
Whose beauty embraced every sheen;
Her tresses were fair,
Her dresses quite rare -
In the office she reigned as the Queen!

Professor Fordyce was Professor of Humanity (= Latin), and a formidable man. He used to joke about young Romans swimming the Tiber before breakfast, especially if a student came into his 9 a.m. class late. The Celtic Dept was at 6 Lilybank Gdns. Prof. Derick = the incomparable Prof. Derick Thomson. James Gleasure was / is a refined gentleman from Co. Kerry! The 'Marxist' (in strongly inverted commas) was Dr Donald John MacLeod from Ardhasaig - a wonderful literary critic, to whom I owe an immense amount for 'shaking up' traditional approaches to Gaelic literary criticism, and making me think beyond the old shoogly boxes. Donald Howells, for all his seriousness about infixed pronouns, would sometimes laugh until the tears ran down his cheeks. He taught me all that I ever knew about Gaelic language across the centuries, to say nothing of Welsh, and much else. 'Applecross Kenny' - Kenneth MacDonald, who has a magnificent voice, was a regular Gaelic BBC newsreader. Kenneth taught a variety of subjects superbly, from early Gaelic institutions to modern Welsh, and all stops in between. Christine - Christine Buchanan. She was a delightful person in an office. What a team!


When the Saxons went out on the road,
They painted themselves in strong woad:
Orange hair on the head,
Chest and tail done in red,
Encircled with hoops of bright goad!


Old Chiefs have been deprived of their 'eye',
And great Chefs are now frying high;
Being good to the belly
Goes down well on telly -
So the gravy train never runs dry!


While Drake was banging his drum,
His men were bowling out rum;
He failed to espy
An armada close by,
Till a ball, not a bowl, hit his tum.

There is a persistent tradition that the good man was otherwise engaged at this very grave moment of national emergency.  He was, as we say nowadays, 'laid back' - and particularly so when the ball turned up.   Anyway, he is said to have said, 'There's time to finish the game, and beat the Spaniards too!'   What a chap!  My sentiments entirely.   Don't panic, don't panic....DON'T PANIC!


How fine to hear about Will,
Now King by the stroke of a quill!
Mum said, 'It's time!
I'm not in my prime -
One must fill the Chasm with skill!'

The reference is, of course, to King Willem of the Netherlands.   Any other interpretation was unintentional, at least on the part of the poet.

(a diamond addendum to 'Bardic Crowns')

As for that place that's called Bayble,
Its power to make poets is no fable:
Though Derick and Iain
Raised a great paean,
There's a bard at the end of each gable!


Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Smith,
Their brilliance in truth is no myth;
And we'll put a crown
On George MacKay Brown -
And on Derick and Sorley forthwith!


Turner's fine 'Temeraire'
Catches old and new with great flare;
'Rain, steam, and speed'
With the hot iron steed
Makes us flee like the horrified hare.


When the Commons went up in a blaze,
Turner just stood there to gaze;
He made many sketches
Of the fate of the wretches,
And said, 'I'll paint a hot picture that pays!'


A destructive bee is the drone;
It gives the bagpipes their tone;
But it also flies high
With death in the sky,
Slashing marrow and flesh from each bone.


A spaced-out author of fiction
Said, 'I've sadly got a conviction
That designing a plot
Which then goes to pot
Will get me ensnared in a diction.'


There was an old chep in a kilt,
Whose Gaelic had a beautiful lilt:
He said 'Ciamar a tha'
And 'Slainte mhaaaa',
And leaned back with a terrible tilt.

A recollection of a hyper-mature and somewhat pompous long-term learner of Gaelic who turned up at one of my summer-school classes in the 1980s, and 'lorded it' somewhat over the other genuine, younger learners.  He was (in)sensitive to various themes which appeared naturally in Gaelic literature at that time, and he tried to censor some of the reading material that I was offering to contemporary-minded students.  Some of us had to bend over backwards, gu dearbh....


No matter how hard she will try,
Theresa can't get rid of that guy;
The court's on his side,
And no torture applied -
Promised Land, milk and honey - we(e) pie!

Line 5: The last word (!) in this line must be pronounced with a Cockney-style diphthong to catch the full force of the ingredients in the 'pie'.I've composed so many limericks about this Abu that I am aboo-t to run out of rhymes....I'll have to apply to the bardic court of poetic rights for a dispensation, but the rhymes could be protected, and I could be badly stuck in the rime.....The bardic court has now given its interim judgement, and it's not favourable: I'm being charged with extracting rhymes by torturing the English language, and a permit for the rendition of further rhymes is not being granted. It's the last line what done it.


Who will now manage Stonehenge
And give TLC to each henge?
Will old Obelix
Emerge from the Styx,
Carrying a heavy CV in revenge?

What benchmarks will now be applied?
An Ogham barcode on each side?
Who will monitor trends
To assure all their friends
That new Druids boast ivy-league pride?

And what of the customer forms?
'Which stone in your view best performs,
With vibes that are bright,
And remains in your sight
While darkness enhances the norms?'

Getafix for quality control?
Pendragon to conduct a stone poll?
A clinical tearoom,
A nice little see-room -
No moss on these stones, bless their soul!

This was inspired by the news on 19.4.2013 that applications are being invited for the post of General Manager at Stonehenge.   I regret to say that, because of a slip of the chisel in the first draft of this fine effusion, the letter 'p' (cut in Ogham) mysteriously implanted itself as the initial of 'see-room', and had to be excised by a professionally poetic stone-cutter.   I am sorry if that  revelation causes my host of bardic admirers to become a little stony-faced. Put it down to ley-lines, please.  I'm feeling the vibes.


The question I ask is 'Wi Fi?'
Do we fear that we will all die
Without a nice fix
Of internet tricks,
And a wee look at FB on the sly?


It's rare to see a commuter
Who sits without a computer;
Absorbed in the screen,
Ignoring the scene,
And wholly in thrall to the router!

Inspired by a journey to and from Conon Bridge today (18.4.2013), courtesy of ScotRail.


There was a young lady from Grantham
Who sang a most wonderful anthem
Of great British pride
That's never since died -
Her fame's like the flower Amaranthum.

'Strictly speaking, and One always speaks strictly, the flower in the last line should be termed "Amaranthus". But when One is a poet, and One is struggling (occasionally) for a rhyme, what does One do? One merely changes the wor(l)d to suit Oneself!'


The Iron Lady will never be dust,
Nor will her mettle show rust;
If she loses her shine,
She'll shout down the line,
'Please burnish the gold in my bust!'

'If gold rust, what shall iron do?'


Big Ben 's not experienced the like;
Today he's forbidden to strike;
He cannot ring 'Ding',
And 'Dong' he can't sing -  
Until he's tolled that she's witched on his mike!


Big Ben was not allowed to toll while Baroness Thatcher's funeral procession was in progress on 17.4.2013.  There was also a bit of a 'ding, dong' about a song on the BBC.


Mrs Thatcher died at the Ritz,
Amongst the glam and the glitz,
Far from the mob
That did the grim job,
And had to endure her blitz.

I am so innocent - still. When I heard that Mrs Thatcher had died at the Ritz,
I thought that she had been attending some grand function or other. The 'i' has just enlightened me...I often joke with the fine staff of the care home which accommodates my mother that her room is so lovely that I want to book it NOW for the day when I myself will need it. I think I must be a little different from Mrs Thatcher in my perspectives....I'm not even sure that I'll be able to sniff the kind of home that my mother is in....



Said the US to North Korea,
'What, Yung Un, is the big idea?
The bomb is our toy,
And we'll use it with joy
In the playpen we've bought from IKEA.'

As everyone knows, IKEA stands for the International Kinetic Energy Authority.  'Kinetic' is the new word for 'shooting with weapons when things get nasty', i.e. when they are throwing the stuff, as Prince Harry would say.


They look backward to Stornoway news,
Though history they'll never refuse.
If papers go stale,
'T will be a poor sale,
But it's sure to get rid of the queues!

As air charges are now too high to permit thier carriage, Stornoway newspapers will arrive by ferry...which means they won't be ferry fresh.


What a peculiar word, 'devolution' -
Quite the opposite of 'evolution'!
It raises a frown
To think we 'go down':
Why shouldn't we che, 'Revolution'?

It occurred to me what a powerful word a tiny prefix is!  Change the prefix, and you could potentially change your thoughts, your life, and even the future of your country!  Retain the prefix and you could be contained in your old ways.


In the days of David MacBrayne
The bosun sailed on the main;
But now he's a quark
And will soon be a clerk -
DisCERNing him taxes the brain.


So long is the Hadron Collider
That geeks on their bikes run beside her;
But if there's a scrape
And the bosons escape,
Will they increase the mass of each rider?

Brief answers, please, preferably in limerick form.


The bosons are always around us;
Above and below they surround us;
So they won't affect mass
Unless we can pass
To the beginnings of things that astound us!  

Bosons are very busy doing the disappearing trick, I'm told, and it is almost impossible to get a reply from any of them.   So a boson sounds very much like an overworked quark to me - very much in tune with our own managerial quarks and quirks these days.


Royal Mail is no national treasure,
For now it insists it must measure
The size of each pack
From a tack to a stack -
Long queues caused by rules are no pleasure!

Suddenly the Royal Mail is doing the same for parcels as it already does for letters - measuring them for size.   Rachel went to the local (??) PO yesterday - you need to take a packed lunch now, as it is such a long expedition - and found a queue out the door.  Why?  Because the good folk behind the counter were busy measuring parcels!   Rachel brought back the supposed 'Guidelines', and we almost died laughing at the specifications, as they are so poorly expressed as to be almost incomprehensible.   This, dear FB friends, is the real measure of our national 'brain'.  The 'parcel tax' has arrived, but the 'imposers' cannot express themselves clearly or rationally.   What hope is there that the 'aspiration nation' (the nation on Aspirins, that is) will clear the 'deficit'?   There's more than one 'deficit', methinks....a deficit of sense being one of them.  More fun this April!  What a super month it is continuing to be, and how appropriate that 1 April was the starting-point for these bright new ideas!


This April is full of great changes:
Police Scotland patrols all the ranges,
While new benefit rules
To catch 'frauds' and 'fools'
Will claw back some tax from the granges!

(31 March 2013)

How self-defeating for Trenton!
Last year he was apparently bent on
Making elitism sink,
But he's raised it, I think,
And not one Oxbridge toff has a dent on!

Trenton Oldfield was the fine 'chep' who disrupted the Oxford-Cambridge boat race last year, by swimming into the way of the rowers.   Marines are currently patrolling the banks of the river to ensure that no wanderers go through the old field and into the Thames.  Police offered Trenton the chance to protest peacefully, but he has decided to go for a walk in the Cotswolds.  Nice 'chep', and how very Oxbridge in his response.  In the meantime, we are all even more interested in the race.   Thanks for racing our awareness, Trenton.   I hope Cambridge wins this time too.


He's some fighta, Abu Qatada,
The boss of his own intifada;
The Home Seccy may
Try to chase him away,
But he digs in his heels ever haada!

The bad spelling of 'fighta' and 'haada' in lines 1 and 5 respectively represents the posh Parliamentary way of terrorising the English language (of which I am naturally a great defender - I conduct my own never-ending 'waw' against mispronunciation).   Come to think of it, why is the House of COMMONS so called, when there are obviously so many high-class linguistic terrorists in thaaaa?  'Cameron, Osborne and May, / How many dung-carts per day / Did they clear from the croft / With hands all so soft / They can't lift a wispa of hay?'


The noises now coming from York
Suggest they are chewing the cork
As to who will take care
Of the bones that are bare -
Will Dick be relayed by a stork?

The poet lingered long on the difficult challenge of choosing between 'relayed' or 're-laid' in line 5.  He also considered most carefully the strange intrusion of a 'stork', before accepting (in a moment of deep and profound enlightenment) that a fresh start for Dickie in York would quite probably amount to a 'rebirth' for this Distinguished Monarch.  So take your pick....and raise the poetic tarmac to see what lies beneath.

THERESA be careful

That Amazon lady Theresa
Fires arrows, and nothing can faze a';
For political thrills
She happily kills
Agencies, Abus and 'Staysa-s'.

The word 'Staysa' (shown here in the plural, in spite of metrical constraints on how many letters are permitted to stay in a rhyme) is a 'neologism'. Please look up that word in your dictionary. It has not been used before. Yes,... I know - that sentence could refer to your dictionary. I have resorted to the creation of new vocabulary to allow me some freedom in this dangerous, verbally febrile world. Recently I have had many knocks on my dictionary door from the long arm of the Lexical Department of the Thought Police, because my vocabulary is not always PC (by the standards of our PCs on Speak Street). A 'staysa' is a 'resident, however long or short he, she or it resides, on this side of the boundary of our/your/my/their personal comfort zone'. A 'staysa' could be no more than a passing thought. Oxford Dictionary compilers please note. In the meantime, I'm praying that Theresa MAY indeed become leader of a certain party....and that she will....well, dare I say what my hopes are? It's risky these days, and I might well be abolished myself if I express my thoughts too clearly - the 'staysas' that have invaded my brain are not welcome.


How fine that an ugly wind-farm
Has caused Tyrant Trump such alarm!
As he drives from each tee,
Our friend can now see
Bonny Scotland's renewable charm!


I well remember that bear,
So arrogant, pompous, 'all there';
His mind so right-wing,
His paws full of sting -
The model for Murdoch, I swear!

My tongue is in my cheek, of course.  I enjoyed Rupert - he was a great friend of mine in my early days.   It was only later that my very knowledgeable colleagues informed me that Rupert was a very right-wing character, and that he 'had it in' for characters from the Orient.   If we apply our own adult biases and acquired 'fashion phobias' to all children's stories - and it has happened to some of Enid Blyton's tales - what happens to happy innocence?  Bah, humbug!


I greatly admire Mary Beard,
So lively, learn-ed, well-geared;
She can dress 'plain',
Since her fine brain
Knows well that all 'fashions' are 'weird'.

As a former academic who has studied both Latin and Greek, and who knows the challenges of both languages, I have always had a tremendous admiration for Professor Mary Beard.  Her effortless ability to read and translate and understand Latin (alone) has impressed me mightily, as have her work on Pompeii and her ability to communicate her findings.  I was therefore amazed and horrified to learn that in our supposedly 'liberated' twenty-first century, she had been subjected to vitriolic abuse because of her 'plain' dress, hairstyle etc.  Had she been Kate, I have no doubt at all that the ever-caring red-tops (and their doting readers) would have mounted a campaign on her behalf - instantaneously too, even if they did not (given their limitations, poor rags!) understand the issues or the nuances.   It may be that I myself have been too far out of the 'fashion loop' (it's so very possible!), but I have not heard of anyone taking up Mary's cause.   Our rather blind devotion to 'celebrities' and 'class actors' (even royal ones), coupled with our increasing inability to understand real worth, makes me very, very uncomfortable.  Ugh!


We live in the age of two Popes,
Two Peters to paul on the ropes;
In the teeth of the gale,
Let's pray they can sail
Their barque round the Cape of Dashed Hopes.


In Cyprus there's no open bank;
Its assets have gone down the stank;
In fair Nicosia
There's a run on IKEA,
As many will soon walk the plank.


An Irish poet who's called Seamus
Has become exceedingly famous;
He's not averse
To lines that are terse,
With thoughts so profound, they all shame us!


When the Big Bang made everything scatter,
What in truth was the cause of the matter?
It would be quite odd
If there was no god
To make nothing explode and grow fatter.


A worthy Professor named Meek
Was considered a bit of a geek;
He put a nuclear reactor
In a Ferguson tractor,
And ploughed the whole of Tiree in a week.


There was an old fellow from Lenzie
Whom ScotRail drove into a frenzy;
He showed them his pass,
But the guard said, 'Alas!
To be legal, you need a pink gensie!'


A fat little piggy from York
Ate all its meals with some stork;
But the greasy old bird
Said, 'This is absurd -
I must try some marg on my pork!'


The floor of the bedroom is rough,
To walk it barefooted is tough;
Nails in the planks,
No carpet for shanks -
My sole's suffered attacks quite enough.


What a truly wonderful nation!
We're stuck in a great constipation!
As we can't budget,
We'll try to fudge it -
Thank goodness we have aspiration!


If you're thinking of buying a lair,
It seems that a car park has flair;
Below the tarred stones
You can polish your bones
Till you're dug up in full public glare!'


If you hear a noise on your walks
Round ugly St Giles of black blocks,
'Tis John below ground,
With a sermon profound -
'Take a chance - opportunity knox!'

'I was always a man for the 'No',
But I am now aware from below
That if you secede
You'll strengthen my creed -
Keep the Old Kirk in Scotland on show!'


Scotland has found its old bones,
In a car park, stowed below stones;
The tale of the knight
Will come to the light,
And cause Dick to stifle some groans!

Anything that England can do, Scotland can do better!  If England finds some old bones in a car park, so does Scotland - and in Edinburgh too.   Taking the knight into the light is, of course, interpreted by King Alex as a good omen for 2014.   Skeleton Dick (Richard III that was) now has a rival.


A proud politician named Huhne
Thought his character hard to impugn;
But a lady called Vicky
Proved to be tricky,
And their penalty points them to June.

Chris Huhne, former Lib Dem M.P. for Eastleigh and a prominent Minister, and his ex-wife Vicki Pryce were both sentenced in March 2008 to eight months' imprisonment for perverting the course of justice in a case relating to the transfer of penalty points for a driving offence.  They are likely to serve half of their sentence (and thus the reference to June).


De Gaulle had a very large conk,
Which sometimes emitted a honk;
But its blast wasn't 'Bon' -
It was more of a 'Non!',
And blew Harold right over Mont Blanc!

The references here will no doubt escape my younger readers.   In the early 1960s, as Harold MacMillan tried to gain entry to the Common Market for the UK, De Gaulle of France blocked his path.  De Gaulle's large 'hooter' was often a cause of some mirth among the vulgar, and was featured in cartoons, including one which suggested (as I well remember) that the 'droopy nose' of the Concorde had been modelled on that of the eminent gentleman.


The smoke from the Sistine stack
Belches forth a grim, oily black;
But cardinal pollution
Will receive absolution,
When there's hope of a Pope from the pack!

This was composed when Roman Cardinals were meeting in conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI.



When winter was dreary and drab,
And Teuchters were putting on flab,
They went to Stonehenge
To take their revenge
By tossing each fifty-ton slab!

Some crashed hard on their ends,
Held up by the goodwill of friends;
Others landed on top,
With no inclination to drop,
While Prof. Obelix monitored trends!

It is well known that Professors, by definition, are slightly mad, but why is it that those who get their 'vibes' from megaliths are particularly prone to become unhenged? 'Megalithomania' is a disease with a long, long, long history, and its symptoms are often related to sensational new theories. Prof Parker Pearson is welcome to his latest contribution, but the idea that people from the north of Scotland would set off to Salisbury Plain with their cows and sheep etc. for an in-service course in 'team-building' (and, of course, henge-building) leaves me....well, in a state of unhenged hilarity. Would it not have been easier for them to take that well-known dug-out canoe, the 'Isle of Lewis', to Callanish, and get stoned at the party over there? Anyway, anyway....I am delighted to note that our hairy ancestors were so far into all the latest managerial clap-trap. Nothing beats a wee bit of 'bonding' and 'group therapy', and I'm so glad it was all available at 'The Henge'. Must have been some place...T-hee-hee in the park. Do me a favour, and toss me another megalith!

q. 2 I regret the deplorable ambiguity of this verse. Future literary critics will no doubt say that it is intended to match the ambiguity of archaeological evidence, and that could well be true.


How sad about Richard the Fust -
His heart has now crumbled to dust;
Little sign of the lion
Who set off for Zion -
King Death does a fine job on lust!


Here's to Nigel Farage,
A one-man anti-Tory barrage;
U kip if you can,
While he rattles his pan -
And turns Dave into tasty 'saus-age'!


Three hundred cheers for Cherie!
She's back - with a CBE!
She has earned a 'gong'
For her charity song -
Rags are riches for those up the tree!


Cathy from Calshot has phoned,
And Nick has visibly groaned:
'If only I'd known
What I hadn't known,
I'd not have known what I'd known, and been stoned.'

U turn that one into sense! When answering calls to phone-in programmes, I think Mr Clegg would be well advised to follow the example of Donald Rumsfeld, who did a brilliant line in the non-definition of 'knowledge'.   For me, Rumsfeld will always rank as one of the greatest philosophical (non-)geniuses of the Bush era, if not of all time.

(Exactly what the nation needs to get rid of its glooms)
If you're wanting to have a good party,
Just phone our fine Pippa - she's arty;
She'll wait on your rows,
Arrange all your shows -
That 'Celebrate' girl's a real smarty!


Book now for a sail on this 'Titan',
Which Palmer is building - a right un!
Here's hoping the ice
Will be specially nice,
And do a fine job - not a slight un!


Sir Ranulph has had to withdraw,
As sense has prevailed in the raw;
The previous bite
Gave him a fright -
He has no more tips left for the saw!


Inverness's fine chains of command
Have caused great strife in the land;
Alleged breach of peace
Involving police -
A link with a clink is at hand!


Why give big bankers a bonus?
Why not reduce the huge onus?
Banks took their whacks
From us who paid tax.
Surely fat-cats in famines are no-nos?


If you go by the Rest and be Thankful,
Make sure that you take a good tankful;
Your rest may be long,
Your heart without song,
If the hillside slides down by the stankful!


Here’s to Hilary Mantel,
Who’s prepared to risk it and tell
What she thinks of Kate
Even if she gets hate –
Free speech, David dear, is STILL well!


Kate has a sister called Pippa –
I’m told she’s a beautiful clippa;
The line of her stern
Will raise no concern,
And she’ll cut through the seas like a kippa!


‘Titanic’ lies two miles below,
Where only ‘Alvin’ can go;
ROVs from his deck,
Illumine the wreck –
But he charges a bomb for the show!


Well done, I must say, to Nadine;
She did something that hadn’t been seen;
At the risk of a bungle,
She took to the jungle.
She’s got sparkle, though perhaps not a sheen!

There was a young farmer from Stoke
Who kept all his pigs in a poke.
When curtly asked why
He didn’t have a sty,
He said, ‘A pig in your eye is no joke!’



I now try to keep clear of Waitrose,
Because, sad to say, my weight rose
From twenty Mars Bars
Deep-fried in sweet jars,
Offered free – and I said, ‘Here goes!’ 


Gaelic ASDA

I have a soft spot for dear Asda,
Because I can rhyme it with ‘gasda’;
But what ‘out of them’?
Woe, alas and ah-hem –
It’s ‘faigh airgead ASDA’ much fasda!

The last line can also be read as ‘Get “out of them” money much fasda!’   There’s two for the price of one in this fine little poem, which is a real bargain for you all.  Macaronic limericks…macaroni poetry…you can buy it all at Asda.


When I went to the temple of Mammon
To buy a mere quarter of gammon,
Someone said ‘Horse’,
And I felt remorse –
Buying a pig in a poke is too cammon.

The required pronunciation of ‘common’ as ‘cammon’ suggests that this fine limerick was indeed composed by an Irishman from Limerick.

Archimedes was in truth so obese
That when he swam in the seas,
The ocean Pacific
Had storms terrific,
And his tsunami disturbed the Chinese.


What a lovely young lady is Tess Co,
The ultimate more-for-much-less co;
Ready meals by the mile
With no additive guile,
And a caring concern for ‘al fresco’.


Here's to the great Almanack,
Which gives every Tar a good crack;
To keep up with the buoys,
Moons, tides and 'ahoys',
Brown's tome will sure chart your best track!


Camilla, once called Parker-Bowles,
Was on Plymouth Ho playing bowls;
She thought she saw Drake,
But she made a mistake –
It was Chas wading in through the shoals!


An ambitious young Scot from Torwood
Removed his domain down to Norwood.
But once on the Tube
He got stuck in a loop -
And found himself back in old Torwood!

Torwood is just outside Larbert, and has a renowned Garden Centre, which is frequented by those who enjoy gardens - and grub (not the kind that crawl around in gardens, though).



Gathering pats was not nice,
But innocence never thinks twice.
It’s such a disgrace,
I’ll now mount a case –
A good pong will be cheap at the pryce.

Sixty years on, I am convinced that somebody else was driving that tractor, and that I was the fall-guy…I nearly fell a few times, come to think of it.


I'm wearied to death of those screeds
About recycling and mincing old steeds;
Each grim abattoir
Is my bete noire.
Please give us some healthy news feeds!


When your service is trash in a bag,
Do your best to strangle and gag;
Shut up the talker,
And make him a walker;
What a shame if he blows off with swag!

I cannot disclose the purpose of this limerick, as I have been gagged in exchange for about £10 million, but it could refer to a current issue with a Lincolnshire Trust.
My own view is that it is time to gag everyone with an opinion, and espcially the poets. I'm sick to death of the satirical kind of versifiers, who are always making fun of the establishment, the system, politicians etc. etc. etc. etc. I must drop a note to Dave to see if he'll do something about it, as he is a great believer in the freedom of the press, the poets etc.



A meteor shower from on high
Has illumined the Russian sky.
Camilla's a star
Whose tail travels far -
Aberdeen's day of doom draweth nigh!

In the Hebrides, the appearance of a 'dreag' (the Gaelic word for a meteorite or shooting-star) was regarded as a portent of doom, presaging some gloomy event. I well remember that my father - an early riser (unlike myself) - was privileged to see such a display about 5.00 a.m. The 'heavenly body' was later reported in the 'Oban Times'. I can imagine that the gritty tail of Camilla's Comet will be blazed abroad in the 'P&J' today.


How splendid to know that Camilla
Is now Aberdeen's greatest pilla;
Such high education,
Such great dedication -
A Princess of the best polyfilla!


When Skeleton Dick reached the Abbey,
He was clad in a crown and not shabby;
But a nasty old skull,
Said, 'He's utterly dull;
Compared with us here, he's too flabby!'



What a dreadful load of old bones!
Richard's been found below stones!
But Leicester will spin
As money flows in -
There's gold in them rex without thrones!

Though tarmac has kept him well down,
He'll now be enhanced with a crown!
How different from Che
Beneath the run-way,
With only a beret of brown!


That burger kicks like a horse
As it leaps at night over gorse;
If I rein it with Rennie's,
I have to spend pennies;
At 'ten to one' on - it's remorse!


Find us a lasagne-oo that will bring this bucking bronco to a halt! This one's got legs, and will run and run....It's not meet to say any more.


Delighted to hear that Dave Becks
Will not join the list of old wrecks;
At age thirty-seven,
In Parisian heaven,
He'll still be receiving fat cheques!


Inspiration must indeed be running low when poetry is reduced to commenting on the above misnamed star in some people's firmament. I do hope that he and Posh will have some lovely weekends and enjoy 'la vie Parisienne'. We have one thing in common - poor French (non-existent in my case). I am touched to know that his salary will go to a charity.


A toxic emitter is Drax,
With fumes from all of its stacks;
Its power to pollute
Will just never soot
Clean-footers with no carbon tracks!

These lines were inspired by a photograph of Drax posted by
Murdo Macdonald. Find me the 'clean-footers with no carbon tracks'!


As Cameron sings his old song,
The French have emitted a pong;
While over in Bonn,
All Euros have gone -
And Merkel is not 'en bon pong'.


How splendid to view these fine Globes,
Ladies clad in magnificent robes,
But star of the show,
With face all a-glow,
Is Bill Clinton who walks on with strobes!



Three cheers for MacFarlane-Slack,
For suggesting a role for the shack!
With fine double-barrel
And kilted apparel,
The Gaels of Glencoe have come back!

The Glen has become quite a posh place, it seems, with all these double-barrelled chappies. A far cry from the treachery of 1692, methinks. No treachery there now, thank goodness. I was intrigued by the name 'MacFarlane-Slack...
. I'm considering becoming a double-barrel myself. How would 'D. MacDonald-Meek' sound in the corridors of gentility? Would it cut a dash, do you think? Whatever one might say about the treacherous, lecherous Gaels of ye olden days who needed to be 'taken out' by those clansmen better than themselves, they certainly weren't 'slack'.



Old Father Neptune holds sway,
And will not give his Trident away;
He'll not be in heaven
If he sends it to Devon,
So he'll just toast the Scots on Doom's Day!

It seems that Faslane is in the news at the moment, with much debate about jobs and loss thereof, but nobody seems sure how many jobs are dependent on Trident. Those who are pro-Trident in Scotland say 6,000; and those who are against it say 600.



Said Tian Tian to Yang Guang in the zoo,
‘Whenever we make our debut,
We’ll lie back in ease,
Speak a little Chinese,
And bamboo-zle that ignorant crew.

Said Yang Guang to Tian Tian in their den,
‘I hear the skirl of the pipes in the glen;
Living here in Corstorphine
Sure boosts the endorphin –
Are you game for a jig with me, then?’

Said Tian Tian to Yang Guang late at night,
‘I think things are going alright;
If we make a wee huddle,
And have a nice cuddle,
The pandinos will soon be in sight!’

Down there on Holyrood’s Mile,
Alex beamed his most panda-esque smile:
He ascended the throne,
And quoth he, in high tone,
‘Yang Guang and Tian Tian have a chile!’

With King Alex fair carried away,
It was Queen Nicola’s turn to hold sway:
‘In the name of the nation,
We’ll give a standing ovation
To Tian Tian and Yang Guang on May Day!’

Prince John was white as a sheet –
His balances never would meet:
He looked out the door,
And suddenly swore –
Panda-monium there on the street!

King Alex was birling a reel,
With Queen Nicola, proud of her chiel;
Alex whirled ever faster,
Each step like a master,
Till Nicola flew off her heel.

Prince John was filled with delight,
With no trace of accountancy fright -
‘Even if Nicola stumbles,
I’ll have no grumbles,
As my balance will soon be quite right!’

2013 Exhortation

Yang Guang, when you’ve had your bamboo,
Please remember you’ve got to woo-woo;
Give Alex the heir
That’s exceedingly rare –
Change bamboo to bambino richt noo!


Yang Guang has failed to unite
With Tian Tian in the depths of the night;
So Scotland awaits
The grimmest of fates -
The pandendum is in a sad plight.

'Pandendum' is a technical term for a rerendum which aims for a 'Yes' vote on the basis of attraction to a young panda.  Pandas are totems of great significance, associated with national pride (in certain parts of the world).  I'm relieved that we have avoided a political pandemic.  The pandas have evidently exercised their right to the 'No' vote.


Here's to Tour de France Bradley!
He certainly hasn't done badly.
Rather than hike,
He got on his bike,
But stopped for the Knight - saddley.


Here's to the town of Kilbeg
Where Gaelic will flow from each keg:
Down there at the Baah
They'll ask you, 'How faah
Is it back to owld Bognah, I beg?'

There are moments, only moments, when myself wonders about the meaning of it all. Town-planning and Gaelic and the concept of an all-Gaelic village....bly - a little more urgent and more useful and more in need of the endless cash that seems to flow in one direction? When I think of the poverty in which I and others had to operate in the Departments of Celtic of the Scottish universities (and I served in them all), and the sense of alienation that that 'poverty' produced in some of us, well, it's no wonder that I wonder....Mo chreach-sa thainig....agus bu tric sin.



The Queen will appear in 3D,
But what will we actually see?
Three ears and three eyes,
A nose thrice its size,
Or 'One' transformed into 'Three'?



Now that we're experts in hacking,
We're ready to move into fracking;
There's plenty of gas
In every crevasse -
So it's time for the earth to get cracking!


There are times - all too rare, I confess - when I feel heart sorry for the earth on which we are privileged to live. Our relentless quest for sources of energy has left it with many scars, but we are still happy to inflict more, even if we create the occasional earthquake here and there. We can 'get cracking' in more ways than one - and so can the poor old earth.


A brilliant designer was Knud:
Only one of his ships was a dud:
The wee 'Caledonia'
Caused ten pandemonia,
And her crossings to Brodick drew blood!


Dr Bruce Peter has just published a 75th Anniversary celebratory volume on the Danish naval architect, Knud E. Hansen, whose contribution to ferry design has been immense.


Sir Patrick is now among stars:
When training his optic on Mars,
The man with monacle
Was also an oracle,
Foretelling space travel in cars!



Here's to yon con Berlusconi;
He may be a little bit phoney,
Inclined to high jinks
And political stinks,
But he's averse to fool Monti baloney!


When Kyle was defending the wicket,
The visitors said, 'It's not cricket;
With caman in hand
They drive heaps of sand,
And using urchins as balls is quite wicked!'

This limerick refers to my previous posts re. games of cricket played between Kyle and tourists on cruise ships.



Today, when I saw my Mum's zimmer,
I thought I'd caught a wee glimmer
Of how I will be
At age eighty-three -
Provided the future's not dimmer!
Professor Heinrich Zimmer (1851-1910) was a foundational Celtic scholar of the Heroic Age of Philology.  A German, he held the Chair of Celtic Philology at Berlinn.  I have often had a terrifying vision of many ancient 'Professor Zimmers' creaking and clicking along on their NHS speed-machines in a race through the cloisters of academia.


Linlithgow exudes a great smell,
The fragrance of finest Chanel;
And up in the palace,
There's a sweet chalice
Called 'Eau de Beau Alex' as well!

The First Minister is a native of Linlithgow. Linlithgow is presently closed to traffic because of the smell. It's a continuing Scottish problem. The First Minister is endeavouring to solve it, and has therefore invited Chanel to the Palace, which, I believe, is to be restored for a future enthronement. Smells and bells a-plenty on the day!


Three cheers for Digital Dan!
He has broken the printer's old pan!
With his stories on-line,
His future will shine -
It's cow-pie in the sky for our man!

Line 2 In the ancient era, before the advent of the advanced technology, which we entered through the Tweet and Sugar Gates, primitives of my generation set our type in hot metal, a practice with which I was thoroughly familiar. When the letters had been cut, they were set in a 'pan'. Now only pies are in pans, but Dan has broken that taboo too - and his pie's in the sky. I hope it's doing nicely.


Pray, tell me what's happened to Dare?
Is there not an e-channel that's spare?
The old 'Eagle' landed,
And left that Dan stranded.
Can we not beam him up from some-where? 



The Pope, who was once a Big Hitter,
Has now decided 2 Twitter;
He'll need 2 restrict
Each lengthy e-dict,
And not use L@in 2 yitter!


There once was a Lord of the Isles,
Renowned for his wealth and his wiles,
Until a fierce heat
Burnt his great seat -
And he no longer boasts of his piles!



A strategic young planner named Hector
Developed a trend in his vector;
An efficiency gain
Cut out his brain,
And now he is head of his sector!



Here's to Theresa called May,
For chasing one Abu away;
But Abu Qatada
Now fights even harda -
He'll not cross the Jordan today!



Glenelg is now among stars,
Linked with the planet called Mars;
As Curiosity roves,
Tourists in droves
Besiege all the shops for Mars Bars!



Said Boris, 'I will faithfully stand
Till I die by our leader's right hand;
I will never upstage
That wonderful sage -
But I really do have the best brand!'

The ambiguity of line b is attested in all early versions of this poem.



Here's to Boris, the chap with the mop
That's yellow and tousled on top;
With a hearty oration
He'll cheer up the nation,
And ensure that dear David's a flop.


Here's to that firebrand Johann,
Who, of Tories, is clearly a fan;
She exhorts us to Labour
On behalf of our neighbour,
But 'Please name your price if you can!'



'Time to heave up the Cable', said Clegg;
'Like Vikings, set fire to the keg;
The right way to die
Is to blow her sky high -
To Valhalla with pensions, I beg!'


What a wonderful lad is our Danny,
So far to the right, it's uncanny;
He takes Lib out of Dem,
Makes Dem sound a gem -
And wrings the last coin from his granny.


The good ship ‘Lib Dem’ needs its Cable
When adrift in the gale round Mount Table;
He reads all the buoys,
Resists siren ‘Ahoys’,
And drops the big hook when he’s able!

This man is far more than old rope;
He’s resisted the smell of poor dope;
Well seasoned in tar,
He’ll soon cross the bar,
And raise a glass to the Cape of Good Hope!


It's great to be Tory Chief Whip,
With power to catch every slip;
But get on your bike
And the gate you least like
Could be a cracking fine start to your trip!

Please note that I'm not a pleb;
I think of myself as celeb;
My house is a Wimpey,
My treasure is skimpy,
But I’m Rex in my own little web.


There once was a weighty Professor
Who kept all his books in a dresser;
When his drawers fell down,
He said with a frown,
'I could not be contained in much lesser!'


An ornithological lady named Hilda
Was posted to far-out St Kilda;
She did so much puffin’,
She lost all her stuffin’,
And climbing the stacs nearly killed a’!

This limerick was inspired by the well-known Gaelic singer, Margaret Stewart, who disclosed to me (in a rash moment) that she had tagged puffins in St Kilda in her student days, and had various adventures on the crossing (by breeches’ buoy) between Hirta and Dun.



A wonderful town is Tyndrum,
With the Green Welly Stop for your tum!
With silver in tills
And gold in the hills,
The diggers are far from being glum!


I'm beginning to lose my composure
With the Rambler's over-exposure!
Can we not find a way
To help him to stay
In a happy and safe enclosure?

He proves that the law is an ass,
As it clearly allows him to pass
From the gates of the jail,
But then calls him for bail,
When he takes to the roads – no volt face!

A neat little microlight plane
Might offer one way from his pain;
Like Sweeney of old
Who flew over each fold,
He could circle and circle - and circle again!


Why are there so many squawkin's
About that wee chappy called Dawkins?
As a Prof who is odd,
He likes playin' at God,
But his views are only his talkin's!



We saw the clouds through the heather,
We wellied our way through the weather;
We sank on our marks,
Then emitted great sparks,
And ran like the deer, hell for leather!

The Bard Laureate from Tiree

(PS I sink my rimes are chust as good as hers, if not a little better! And my soughts is chust as fine too. Myself takes the view that there should be a special Bard appointed for the Rio games, and myself will apply for the post.)


My state education was poor;
I gate-crashed Cambridge for sure;
As for fitness and gym,
Sheep kept me in trim,
And chasing heifers in heat on the moor!



What a wonderful lad is Chris Hoy!
He is surely the best British boy!
He may be a Scot,
But now that he's got
The Jack at his mast - 'Brit A-Hoy'!


A fine Captain with Caley MacBrayne,
Enclosed in his bridge, took a pane,
Smashed it right through,
And yelled to his crew,
'I steer best by the smell of the rain'.

That Council sure picked a fine winner,
When Martha recorded each dinner;
Their Leader went 'splat'
Straight into the fat,
And came out considerably thinner.


I do love the weather in June,
The delights of the summer monsoon;
I'm setting my sail
To go with the gale
To the west where it's always high noon!

When CalMac launched the new ferry,
The X-Bow was christened with sherry;
Said the ecstatic MD,
'When this gets to sea,
Instead of being sick, we'll be merry!'


A wonderful athlete is Tessa -
Her performance gets bessa and bessa;
She outran the crony
Of old Berlusconi,
And now she's Dame for the game - nothing lessa!



Kate Winslet is now a Great Dame -
Posing nude in old Jude brought her fame;
As for 'Titanic',
In all of the panic,
She barely went down in a frame!


'I loved having supper with Brooks
In the country, away from the crooks;
In the light of the sun
It was really great fun
To entice the sky bee from its nooks!'



A star-gazing schemer named Bell
Caused a Comet to ply on the swell:
His vessel of steam,
With two paddles per beam,
Loudly sounded for sail the death-knell!

The name of the 'Comet' was inspired by the appearance of a comet in 1812. Bell was generally regarded as a great 'schemer', constantly thinking about new ventures and 'schemes'. I.K. Brunel noted that 'Bell's scheming got Britain steaming' in the maritime field.


A wonderful snowman is Yeti -
His tale is no see-through confetti;
His form is abominable,
His footprints indomitable,
But that finger is not Yeti - yeti!

I am hoping that 2012 will be the year when I discover the Missing Link in my poetry, so that I will join the ranks of the Great Bards of Galedom (the stormy Children of the Muse). That was definitely a weakness in my career.


As a poet, I love my black print;
It proves that I do a good stint;
I huff and I puff,
I write clouds of guff,
And emit toxic sparks from my flint.


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