Mike Mesterton-Gibbons


An Academic Gown

An academic’s wardrobe isn’t grand.
No prof can think when collared with a tie,
And fancy shoes get whitened where you stand—
Chalk lays down trails where later you walk by!
At owning brand new suits a prof just scoffs:
Dry-cleaning bills would stretch beyond your means,
Endangering your drinking fund, so profs
Most often don a T-shirt and wear jeans.
It’s only when you hood your PhDs,
Collegiate dress code rules exact their tolls:
Grads lining up to walk for their degrees—
Or deans—might spot your only suit’s moth holes! …
Wise profs—dressed down, but fearing dressing-down—
Need overalls: an academic gown!

Lions And Tigers?

Large cats are now so scattered in the wild,
In searching for a conspecific date,
One’s quest may fail … Then should the stripy-styled
Not contemplate the stripeless for a mate?
Since ligon cubs or tigons may result
And backcrossed females may have offspring too,
New terms may soon be needed for adult
Descendants of these hybrids in the zoo:
Tiligers and titigons, if the dad
Is tiger, and liliger or liti-
Gon, if he’s lion—terms to which we add
Extensions … If descendants multiply
Repeatedly, then in some future year,
Some lititititigons may appear!

Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Florida State University. After he retired, he turned his hand to acrostic sonnets, and entered his first one in the Southern Shakespeare Company’s 2020 Sonnet Contest. To his great surprise, it won, which he seems to have taken as a sign: he has since written many more. The judges have a lot to answer for.