Poems of the Week

Maki Kaji

by Shaun Jex

“Maki Kaji, the creator of the popular numbers puzzle Sudoku whose life’s work
was spreading the joy of puzzles, has died…”
Associated Press

Maki Kaji
Kept our minds from growing stodgy
So let’s give thanks for the bloke who
Gave the world Sudoku

Bear Facts

by Ruth S. Baker

“A California man has filed a lawsuit after he was injured trying to flee from a bear
that surprised him in a Lake Tahoe dumpster.”

The Guardian

Dear Sir, you’re warned (to give the gist)
To cease and also to desist
And hasten to be reconciled.
In re this suit, so rashly filed,
We are reliably advised
Our client was the one surprised
By you when merely looking in
Chez Dumpster for an opened tin.
To claim for injuries incurred
By foolish flight is quite absurd:
We may not, should you stay defiant,
Be able to restrain our client
From wielding, in this rightful cause,
The Bears’ Retaliative Clause.


by Chris O’Carroll

According to The New York Times, a gluteal enhancement
operation, popularly a BBL or Brazilian Butt Lift, has
the highest mortality rate of any cosmetic surgery.”

Injecting fat to shape and fill your ass
Can cost you $15K and kill your ass.

“Is the future of the Irish pub alcohol-free?”

The Guardian

by Steven Kent

It’s heresy, I say,
Traditions die this way—
We have to take a stand today, my brothers!
No lager, stout, or ale
On tap or by the pail,
vermouth, or gin and tonic, or the others,
Just lemonade and tea
And coffee (whiskey-free)—
We might as well go home, lads, to our mothers!

Save the Dates

by Alex Steelsmith

August 24 is National Waffle Day.”

“Waffle Day is a tradition that is celebrated… on March 25.”

March 11 is Oatmeal Nut Waffle Day.”

“National Waffle Week is celebrated on the first full week of September.”

Merrily, merrily,
National Waffle Day
happens in August—or
possibly not.

One thing is certain, though:
waffle enthusiasts
waffle a lot.


by Geoffrey Basking

“‘Being too aspirational is repellent now’—the rise of the ‘genuinfluencers'”
The Guardian

Cut all those aspirations down to size!
Aim lower, you’ve dejection to project,
And as the genuinfluencers rise,

A Panda Turns One

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

A year ago, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s trysts
Produced a little miracle: a son—
According to esteemed zoologists,
Not one percent of such old couples’ fun
Delivers baby giant panda bears!
At National Zoo, devoted keepers say
This cub is fond of apples and of pears,
Unhurried but creative in his play,
Remarkably observant, and astute:
Not built for muggy metro weather, he
Skedaddles for the nearest AC chute
On dog days—so he proves himself to be
No dummy! … Now it’s time to join DC,
Exclaiming: Happy Birthday, Xiao Qi Ji!

The Ballad of Wally the Walrus

by Julia Griffin

“Life coach sent in to calm Wally wars on Scilly isles …
Lizzi Larbalestier specialises in helping her clients develop ‘compassion for yourselves,
others and the planet’ … [She] was flown in … to keep the peace between Wally the Walrus
and some rather irate boatmen
The Sunday Times

“Pontoon built to help Wally the walrus rest”
BBC News

For Jack, with apologies to Cab Calloway

Folks, here’s a story ’bout Wally the Walrus:
He had a face quite dour and dol’rous;
He was a rubbery, blubbery male,
And he crashed on boats with the weight of a whale.

Ho-dee ho-dee ho
Ho-dee ho-dee ho
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi
Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi
Hey-dee hey
Hey-dee hey

He messed around near the Isles of Scilly
(It felt like home though not so chilly):
He boarded all the boats he found
’Cause he just loved throwing his weight around.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]

Soon the boatmen, turning testier,
Called a lady called Larbalestier,
An arbitrator who taught compassion,
To stop poor Wal from fish-boat-crashin’.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]

She didn’t offer him gold or palaces,
She didn’t bother with psychoanalysis,
She gave that walrus his own pontoon,
Which saved his hide from a sharp harpoon.

Hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee hi [etc.]

The Great Masters 2.0

by Steven Kent

“‘We Don’t Need Another Michelangelo’: In Italy, It’s Robots’ Turn to Sculpt”
The New York Times

Take note, young sculptors, Venice to Milan—
Your genius and your skill are no more needed,
For these machines work harder than you can
And don’t complain when they get superseded.

They may not have a vision, style, or grace
Or any other trait that art requires,
But we can fit a dozen in one space
And run them round the clock—how this inspires!

And who’s to say a hundred years from now
(For those of us who might be down-the-roaders)
That we’ll recall what art was anyhow—
By that point all the “artists” will be coders.


by Iris Herriot

“Billionaires fight over what is actual outer space”

“Actual outer space”? Here’s NASA, Jeff:
Where rich men scream and everyone is deaf.

Ad Astra, Add Alpha

by Alex Steelsmith

“Billionaire Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group… became the first person to reach space using his own ship in this historical space race, beating Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.”

“Sic itur ad astra.” (“Thus one journeys to the stars.”)
—Virgil, the Aeneid, book IX

Whammily bammily
Branson the billionaire
had to be first, as he’ll
surely explain:

“Riding my rocket felt
sorry, boys—space is a
Virgin domain.”

All Cut Up

by Nora Jay

“Ritz leaves internet ‘speechless’ after explaining reason behind cracker shape”
Fox News

The toothsome crackers known as Ritz
Are shaped for slicing cheese to bits,
Or so the Web has just divulged.
The eyes of countless foodies bulged
With shock and serious distress:
A trait ascribed to prettiness
Was really a serrated tease
Designed for brutalizing cheese!
Though some might groan and others screech,
The Internet was robbed of speech,
Which, little though this tale befits,
Should win some amnesty for Ritz.

Seafood with Whine

by David Southward

“I’m sorry, we’re out of the crab,”
our waiter is quick to explain.
With fishermen stranded by Covid,
crustaceans are hard to obtain—

and restaurants chafe at the pinch
of an irony taken too far:
now that their dishes aren’t crabby,
the diners who order them are!

The God Revealed

by Julia Griffin

“‘Neptune’ appears in the waves during storm in Newhaven”
BBC News

Neptune himself appearing in the storm?
Few ever hoped for it—the god ascending,
Divine locks pluming out, a spectral swarm,
His whole head thrusting upwards, daylight bending
Around the wild white undulating form,
Through grief, some say, at never comprehending
A god’s gift, always soaring, always ending.

Your Future King

by Mike Mesterton-Gibbons

“Prince Charles says cheap food and industrial farming are ruining the planet”
The Washington Post

Your future king is on the radio,
Objecting to cheap monoculture fare:
Unless you eat organic food, there’s no
Redemption for the planet we all share—
Forget that I own more of it than you! …
Unfettered large-scale farming industry
Tears down the web of rural life I knew,
Upsetting nature’s ways. The heart will be
Ripped out of Britain’s countryside if your
Eccentric-farmer types go out of biz,
Knee-deep in what makes agriculture pure …
I‘ve waited eons to succeed mum Liz—
Now I’m concerned that if Big Ag ordain,
Great Britain won’t be worth the wait to reign!