Poems of the Week


by Iris Herriot

“The Vatican said it was seeking explanations from Instagram after Pope Francis’s official account
liked a photo of a scantily dressed Brazilian model.”

The Guardian

(with apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein)

Models displayed over Buzzfeed and Twitter,
Costumed in little but stockings and glitter,
Braless Brazilians in shoes heeled with spikes:
These are some things that His Holiness likes.

May show fury
(As no churchman should),

Shouting Anathema! Obstat! or Yikes!
The Pope’s never felt so good.

By The Same Tolkien

by Alex Steelsmith

“‘The Nature of Middle-earth, a collection of previously unpublished J.R.R. Tolkien essays…
will be released by HarperCollins in June 2021.’ … The topics [include] ‘Elvish immortality
and reincarnation.'”


J.R.R. Tolkien
soon will reveal how the
soul of an elf,

being immortal and
always returns—like the
author himself.

Webster and Wang

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Emily W. Murphy is hearing from Americans demanding she do her job. There’s just one problem:
She’s not that Emily W. Murphy. … It seems ordinary Americans had identified her as the Emily W.
Murphy appointed by President Trump as head of the General Services Administration, who has
infuriated many with her refusal to sign documents declaring Joe Biden as the apparent winner
of the presidential election.”

—The Washington Post

We differ but we seem to be the same:
Each one’s a Murphy, Emily as well.
But if, in full, you write the middle name,
Such sameness is so easy to dispel…
Though if a W is all you see,
Especially if photos aren’t supplied,
Regrettably, you think that I am she
And send me pens, and though I’m on your side,
No power to use pens at GSA
Do I yet have. But if pens come in tens,
Would you please send, not Bics, but Cartier
Authentic gold and diamond fountain pens?…
No help to Joe’s transition could I be—
Gold would, however, help transition me!

Kayleigh Kan’t Kount

by Brian Allgar

“AMAZING! More than one MILLION marchers for President Trump descend on the swamp in support”
—Kayleigh McEnany on Twitter

Once more, inanely, McEnany’s blundered.
Her claim: “More than one MILLION marchers” went.
In fact, eleven thousand and six hundred—
She only lied by 99%.

Gobble Gobble 2020

by Jane Blanchard

“CDC Recommends Against Thanksgiving Travel”
Simple Flying

Turkey’s roasting in the oven –
Dressing’s ready for the same –
Once the former’s on the platter –
Eating both will be our aim –

Plus these greens and those potatoes –
Cranberries preserved by you –
My pecan squares – baked and waiting –
All in all too much for two –

The DTs

by Brendan Beary

Come on—go gentle into that good night;
Don’t claim you were the victim of a fix.
The votes are in. Admit you lost the fight.

Insisting you’ve prevailed? Ha-ha, not quite.
Although there were some states still in the mix—
Uncertainties upon election night—

They’ve been decided, most of them, despite
Your lawyers’ lame attempts to eighty-six
The Constitution. They can’t win this fight.

Your petulance and pettiness and spite
May help you win retweets and likes and clicks;
The tirades lasting long into the night

May serve to whet your base’s appetite,
But it’s no substitute for politics.
The votes are counted now. You lost the fight.

We’re sick and bloody tired of this, all right?
Denial, obstinacy, dirty tricks,
Like “loser” is a fate you have to fight?
Do not. Go gentle into that. Good night.

Goose Bumps

by Nora Jay

“Donald Trump attacks Fox News: ‘They forgot the Golden Goose'”
The Guardian

O who could forget the Golden Goose,
The farmyard’s shiniest fowl,
With his jabbing claws and his beak of puce
And his hiss that’s more of a yowl?

O shame to the Fox that scorned the Goose,
The best that bank ever rolled,
And cut his cackle and cast him loose
With his plumes still glitzy as gold!

The Restorer’s Retort

by Dan Campion

“Behold The ‘Potato Head’ Of Palencia, Another Botched Art Restoration In Spain”

To those who say the lady’s face,
Once bland, now looks grotesque,
I say: Behold her impish grace
Revealed, Picasso-esque!

Categorical Blank

by Iris Herriot

“Alex Trebek, Longtime Host of ‘Jeopardy!,’ Dies at 80″
The New York Times

What’s saving our evenings from wreck?
What’s keeping sore spouses in check?
What’s soothing to see now?
What’s nice on TV now?
What’s Jeopardy minus Trebek?

Breath of Fresh Ayr

by Julia Griffin

“South Ayrshire Golf club owner loses 2020 presidential election”
Ayrshire Daily News

The golfers round the town of Ayr
Are always absolutely fayr:
Accordingly, when they declayr
A round is done, it is. So thayr.

O, Donny, Donny Boy!

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

O, Donny Boy, it’s golf—you still can win!
Dang Biden is already on the green,
One putt away from Prez. But don’t give in.
Now comes the time for sneakiness unseen:
Nab Biden’s ball while he is on the phone.
Yes, toss it way far back. The rough will do.
Don’t let him see you substitute your own.
Once that is done you’re in the lead, aren’t you? …
No dice! Hole watchers saw. They stood too near!
Now you demand an extra eighteen holes.
You want a judge to wipe your scorecard clear …
But there’s no law on mulligans for polls.
O Donny, Donny Boy, ’tis you must lose:
Your ouster has been called. You’re now fake news!


by Ruth S. Baker

“It’s believed that Christopher Columbus—yes, that Columbus—mistook manatees for mermaids on one of his journeys to the Americas in 1493. Columbus was a bit taken aback, though, and told others that the mermaids were not as beautiful as they were said to be because ‘their faces had some masculine traits.’”

It’s thought that Columbus—yes that one—mistook
Two mammals we’d hardly confuse should we look;
A watery sleekness, a flash of a fin,
Would not, you’d imagine, take anyone in,
But let’s not forget that La Pinta & Co.
Had been on the ocean for months in a row,
With no one to look at but slovenly men;
And so, when strange swimmers appeared in his ken,
Columbus, misled by his hopes and environs,
Accepted the finny conundrums as sirens,
Though taken aback, or aghast, or astir,
On marking how mannish those manatees were.

Schwandt Family Plus (an acrostic)

by Eddie Aderne

“Michigan couple with 14 sons finally has a daughter”
The Guardian

So Jay begat Tyler, with thanks to Kateri,
Conceiver supreme, quickly pregnant with Zach;
He soon was big brother to Drew (was it scary?);
When Brandon appeared, they were almost a pack,
And then a quintet, on the entry of Tommy;
Next off there was Vinny—just briefly the babe:
Demoted when Calvin laid claim to his mommy.
This wasn’t to last. He was followed by Gabe,
Forerunner of Wesley (methodically christened);
Additional Charlie (more cheerful, less stern)
Made ten: a good limit, had Luke only listened.
In twelfth place, see Tucker, tucked up in his turn.
Last out came Francisco—no! wrong once again:
Young Finley, concluding this masculine train—

+ now (spare a thought for her): Miss Maggie Jayne.

The Elephants’ Graveyard

by Ed Shacklee

The worm had turned. Poor pachyderms—the last to learn their plight,
they’d pawned their tusks to kooks and crooks who told them who to fight,
plus most had tumbled over, having tilted to the right.

Blinded by the spotlight in the centermost of rings
while doing tricks for peanuts as their owners pulled the strings,
they’d left the jungle long ago where they had once been kings.

Yet, “How I miss the circus!” said the fattest one, who wept.
“Do you recall the hoops through which the limber leopards leapt,
and poop from painted ponies, here, before the grounds were swept?

“But tigers turned to pussy cats, and are no longer feared,
the lady is no lady now that she has lost her beard,
and wind creeps through our giant tent where once the rubes had cheered.

“The clown whose smile is painted on became his final joke,
the lion tamer found the tame were hungry when they woke,
and men who swallowed swords and flames are bloody stubs and smoke.

“The muscle man grew musclebound. The minute men are late:
the rubber man from India who swore that he’d go straight
is off to parts unknown if he can wriggle through the gate.

“Our acrobats have fallen flat, their leaps of faith gone sour.
The witless human cannonballs all hit the ivory tower,
and girls at whom the knives were thrown reward us with a glower.

“The fortune teller reads the cards we’d marked—her head is bowed.
The barkers give up barking at our dwindling, swindled crowd,
while spiders man the ticket booth and weave a mocking shroud;

“and so, although we used to crow while trumpeting our glory,
we’re off to seek the graveyard at the end of every story,
but not before I leave the donkeys this memento mori:

“Dethroned, debunked, I’ll pack my trunk—yet everything must pass,
and those who’ve yearned for unicorns might learn that you’re an ass,
the last to know your nose will grow among the upper class.”

The Mad Red-Hatter Tweets from the Rabbit Hole

by Bob McKenty

I demand a recount
In states I didn’t win.
Only votes for me count
(Reject the ones mailed in).

I register objection
When balloting’s remote.
It’s not a fair election:
They’re counting every vote!