Poems of the Week

Advice to Russian Tourists

by Patrick Biggs

Earlier this year, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, was poisoned in Salisbury, England. The two Russian suspects, who were in the UK for a total of 48 hours, now claim to have only been tourists wanting to see Salisbury Cathedral with its 123-meter spire. They decided not to visit nearby Stonehenge because of “muddy slush everywhere.” The implausibility of their alibi has been widely mocked.

Forget Big Ben, the London Eye, the Palace, and the Tower,
For Salisbury Cathedral is the landmark of the hour.
From Moscow it’s a mere three thousand kilometer hop,
Ideal for time-strapped tourists wanting just a two-day stop.
It’s proud to boast the tallest spire there is to see in Britain,
The best-kept copy of the Magna Carta ever written,
A working clock perhaps as old as 1386—
This church is truly one of England’s top vacation picks.
Be wary if you’re from the balmy climes of Russia, though:
Your trip to Stonehenge may be foiled by half an inch of snow.