Poems of the Week

CovideO

by Iris Herriot

Soon it will be gone!
Just a final prod:
Vax is marching on;
Pill’s just got the nod—
Enter Omicron.
Omigod.

Stopping by IKEA on a Snowy Evening

by Coleman Glenn

“In northern Denmark, an IKEA showroom turned into a vast bedroom. Six customers and about two
dozen employees were stranded by a snowstorm and spent the night in the store, sleeping in the
beds that are usually on show.”

Associated Press

(with apologies to Robert Frost)

Whose store this is we surely know;
Head office is in Stockholm, though.
They will not mind us staying here
As all the roads fill up with snow.

With suppertime now drawing near
We have provisions for good cheer,
E.g., a lingonberry shake
With Swedish meatballs and a beer.

And after dinner we can take
A showroom bed—no need to make
This furniture, no need to keep
That tool to fix some dumb mistake.

The beds, it’s true, are kind of cheap;
But dreams of doing this run deep,
And where else would we rather sleep?
There’s nowhere else we’d rather sleep.

Who Dunnit?

by Julia Griffin

“Storm Strands Dozens of Guests at English Pub”
The Weather Channel

A circumstance of literary form:
Guests, by default, but strangers, as it seems,
Are stranded all together by a storm.
The setting is a pub. What cozy memes
Hover around! The guests are named and classed:
Avuncular professors, comic cooks,
Curt officers, smooth vicars (with a past?),
Haughty grande dames and blondes with pin-up looks
Regard each other warily, converse
In character, accept the landlord’s brew,
Steaming with coziness. “It could be worse,”
They sigh. This soon turns out to be untrue.
Is anyone in charge? Can no one spot
Elimination coming? What’s the plot?

What the Flock?

by Clyde Always

“Murders of crows are taking over the Bay Area right now”
SFGATE

Good news in Berkeley:
murders rose!
This pleased the fans of
counting crows.

Bully Boy

by Bruce Bennett

“Body mass is generally a good predictor of bird dominance, but woodpeckers dominate
even some birds that outweigh them. “They punch above their weight because they spend their lives
hammering on trees,” [ornithologist Eliot] Miller said.”

The Washington Post

I punch above my weight.
Rat tat Rat tat Rat tat
You wanna meet your fate?
I punch above my weight.
It’s gonna be too late
Once you discover that.
I punch above my weight.
Rat tat Rat tat Rat tat

C’mon, Bro. Make my day.
Come test me. Show your stuff.
I’ve heard that crap you say.
C’mon, Bro. Make my day.
Enough with that display.
I hear you’re pretty tough.
C’mon, Bro. Make my day.
Come test me. Show your stuff.

Come test me. Do your worst.
We’ll see who gets the seed.
So what who got here first?
Come test me. Do your worst.
That order’s now reversed.
It doesn’t go by need.
Come test me. Do your worst.
We’ll see who gets the seed.

Flying the Coop

by Coleman Glenn

“Twitter CEO steps down, leaves company at a crossroads”
AP

Fleetily tweetily
Jack the first Twitterer
Flew from his perch at the
Top of the roost,

Leaving his underlings,
Founding-directorless,
Cleaning up fallout from
Squawkers he’d loosed.

Bye-Bye, Barbados!

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“In Barbados, it’s out with the queen, in with a president as the Caribbean island nation
becomes the first Commonwealth realm in nearly three decades to declare itself a republic.”

The Washington Post

Barbados to the monarch: Toodle-oo!
You are no longer head of state round here,
Elizabeth Regina! We are through—
Britannia’s rule belongs to yesteryear!
Your firms can still invest in our unchained
Economy, Your Highness—though we will
Be tempted to impound the profits gained
As reparations for historic ill! …
Regina to Barbadians: Bye-bye!
Be prosperous without a queen—I know
A president is hipper than am I! …
Don’t follow in Guyana’s footsteps though,
Or you may later rue that you had been
So keen to wish good riddance to your Queen!

Properganda

by Alex Steelsmith

“Nationalistic war film smashes Chinese box office records… [A Chinese magazine editor who
questioned the film’s message] was censored, [his] Weibo account of two million followers taken
offline. He was detained by police… and faces up to three years in prison if convicted…”

AFP News

Ominous dominance,
Chinese authorities
cultivate thinking that’s
proper, by force.

Anyone questioning
nationalistically
governed convictions? Con-
victed, of course.

Oregon Gush

by Eddie Aderne

“Oregon to ban ‘gushing’ love letters to homeowners from potential buyers …
The new law aims to eliminate conscious or subconscious gatekeeping by sellers
when they select who gets to live in their home and their neighborhood after they leave.”
The Guardian

In Oregon, to buy a home
Would make a politician blush.
Your ego shrunken like a gnome,
You have to swoon and fawn and gush

As if the place you aimed to buy
(Competitively, be it said)
Were Downton-Abbey-cum-Versailles,
Not this prefabricated shed.

But now the custom’s to be banned!
Attempt no more to jump the queue
By penning in your finest hand
A building-focussed billet doux;

No epistolary panache
Will serve to rest your claim upon;
Henceforth plain democratic cash
Alone will serve in Oregon.

Endor[mou]sement

by Ruth S. Baker

“Dormouse bridge across railway line could help save endangered species …
The dormice will be encouraged to cross the bridge by putting dormouse boxes,
or homes, near the entrance to the bridge.”
The Guardian

Encourage the dormice!
Advance, por favor, mice:
Make headway and tailway!
We’re bridging this railway
With houses or boxes
Too tiny for foxes
Or humans. This bridgelet
For us is a squidgelet,
But when you’re a dormouse,
It’s enormouse.

Shuffling Along

by Stephen Gold

“Keir Starmer reshuffles Labour’s shadow cabinet…”
Evening Standard

(To the tune of “Me and My Shadow“)

Me and my shadows,
In the shade the whole day through.
Me and my shadows,
Never higher ranked than number two.

Me and my shadows,
Gamely bringing up the rear.
Deep in the shadows,
By the way, we’re over here. No, here!

Do you know who we are?
Or care a jot?
Do you think I’m a star?
You don’t? I thought not.
Me and my shadows,
In the shade the whole day through.

Surgeon Emergency

by Julia Griffin

“Austria: Doctor fined for amputating wrong leg of patient …
In court, the surgeon said there had been a flaw in the chain of command in the operating theatre.
When asked why she had marked the right leg and not the left, she said: ‘I just don’t know’.”
BBC News

I just don’t know. I mostly catch
Such slips before I make a scratch;
Don’t think it usual, I beg;
It really takes one down a peg—
I would have loved to reattach.

The papers had a field-day, natch:
It’s things like this on which they latch;
Do chefs not sometimes drop an egg?
I just don’t know.

Believe me, if I could, I’d patch,
But sadly, flesh won’t act like thatch
(Cf. the case of Silas Wegg),
And since we had to take a leg,
Some might prefer two sides that match;
I just don’t know.

Embonpoint of No Return

by Alex Steelsmith

“Nearly 1 in 3 college-age people in U.S. is obese, study finds…
[H]abits formed during this period often persist throughout a lifetime.”
UPI

Jiggledy-piggledy,
one in three college kids
needs to eat wisely and
go to the gym.

What are their chances of
further obesity,
post-university?
Likewise, not slim.

Xenobots

“World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say”
CNN

Take One

by Orel Protopopescu

Our future’s bright with xenobots,
self-reproducing stem-celled dots!
Their Pac-man shapes are smiley, sweet,
like mouths about to gulp a treat.

Could bots sequester pesky bugs
and ply our blood, delivering drugs,
scrape plaque from aging arteries,
clean microplastics from the seas?

Some fools have fears that this small race,
if uncontrolled might soon displace
all other species, even ants
and other pesky miscreants.

Such fears are baseless, asinine!
A microscopic Frankenstein?
Fear weaponized bacteria,
the thawing of Siberia.

So long as we still call the shots,
what’s there to fear from xenobots?

Take Two

by Dan Campion

We bots are minuscule, but wait:
Hurrah, our kind can replicate!
Now in Darwin territory,
Why stay servants? End of story.

Grieving Stephen

by Julia Griffin

Stephen Sondheim, 1930-2021

The news knocked my whole world awry:
I felt that my heart was wrung dry,
Or mined by bacilli—
This lasted until I
Remembered: immortals don’t die.