Poems of the Week

Hubble Trouble

by Julia Griffin

“Black hole vomits years after gobbling up a star”

(To the tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star”)

When you gobble up a star
You’ll be less than popular:
Undigested spheroids will
Repeat on you;
Since that hot, plasmatic mass
Obviously gives you gas,
When you gobble up a star
Your fans are few.
See this lens we’re peering through?
You are vividly in view:
When you gobble up a star,
Please learn to chew.


by Bruce Bennett

“The implications [of research on black holes] are mind-bending,
including the possibility that our three-dimensional universe—and we ourselves—may be holograms”
The New York Times

“O, that this too too solid flesh would melt”—
Only, it isn’t solid. What we felt
Was nothing, since we’re nothing. Not such stuff
As dreams are made on even. Man, it’s tough!

French Blue

by Stephen Gold

“[Color-coded] labels that deem cheese less healthy than pizza are crackers, French dairies say”
The Times

My friend André adores Comté,
Un fine fromage de France.
But yesterday in old Marseilles
He looked at it askance.

Alors! He’d spied its color code,
A vivid shade of rouge,
Which warned its calorific load
Was absolutely huge.

Les fromagers have rushed to say
That this is très injuste.
Gros imbéciles hold trop de sway,
And folie rules the roost!

It’s quite absurd to clobber curds,
Désistez s’il vous plait!
Let’s hear it for our dairy herds,
And sweep these rules a-whey!

Sting Operation

by Clyde Always

“Protester accused of unleashing bee swarm on deputies to stop eviction”
The Washington Post

In Massachusetts, Boys in Blue
were injured when a protest grew.

Assailants swarmed and caused a buzz.
One wonders where the swat-team was…

Gogh Figure

by Alex Steelsmith

“[Members of] the climate change–focused group Just Stop Oil
threw tomato soup on van Gogh’s Sunflowers… . Then the activists glued themselves
to the wall under the painting. … [Some people were] asking what van Gogh
did to hurt the climate.”

Loopily, soupily,
climate-change activists
gain some supporters, but
others conclude

some of their tactics might
seem to suggest they are
coming unglued.

Moodily, broodily,
Vincent of Netherlands
might have been totally
vexed and said, “Gosh,

I can stop oil any
time if I switch to a
method like gouache.”

A Deeper View

by Nora Jay

“US doctor removes 23 contact lenses stuck in eye like ‘stack of pancakes’
The patient … complained about feeling something foreign in her eye”
The Guardian

That’s worse than 23 half-specs,
One ventures.
Let’s hope an expert also checks
Her dentures.

Pub Work/Pub Life Balance

by Steven Kent

“What’s it like working from the pub? Well, the beer numbs your cost-of-living anxiety”
The Guardian

Hey, boss, you hear me now? Okay,
Let’s talk about this merger deal.
Due diligence I’ve done; I feel—
Kate, give me fish and chips today.

Where were we? Right, the merger mess.
I really think we should proceed;
We’ve got the funding, now we need—
Kate, how about a Guinness, yes?

So here’s the thing, Boss, I won’t lie:
The competition’s closing in,
And if we ever hope to win—
Kate, I could go for shepherd’s pie.

Hold on, you’re telling me right here
I’m off the project? Reason is
I’m too distracted for this biz?
Hey, Kate, I’m gonna need more beer!


by Clyde Always

“[A] 14-foot skeleton was shamelessly hijacked in broad daylight
from a front yard in a neighborhood in Austin, Texas.”
Fox News

Sneakily, creakily,
Halloween hijacker
snatches a skeleton
14 feet tall;

someone so brazenly
must have the busiest
closet of all.

Salad Days

by Steven Kent

“Iceberg lettuce in blond wig outlasts Liz Truss”
The Guardian

The lettuce lives, while Liz as PM’s dead—
Won by a nose, but soon lost by a head.

From An Old Cat’s Book of Impractical PMs

by Steve Bremner

With apologies to T.S. Eliot
(also to A. Lloyd Webber and R. Kipling)

“Larry the Cat outlasts fourth U.K. prime minister…
The 15-year-old tabby dutifully serves as Chief Mouser of No. 10 Downing Street…”

There’s a whisper through that door, though it’s just day 44,
That the PM is ready to split.
Ah, but “Larry where is Larry, is he off with Meg and Harry?
We must find him or the boss can’t quit.”
Videographers, reporters, and our newsrooms’ sons and daughters
Are searching high and low
Crying, “Larry stop your messing, this event requires your blessing—
A PM can’t just go!”
At 11:42 the announcement’s nearly due
When Larry’s spotted circling someone’s shin,
And the people cheer and sing ‘God Save the Queen … uh … King,’
As a friendly cop comes out to take him in.

And Larry flails his twirly tail
And daintily wipes his mouth,
To signal us off to the southernmost part
Of “another one goes south.”

Then he gives a twitch of his whiskered nose
To say: “’Til next time we meet!
I’ll see you again when the next one goes—
I’m The Cat of Downing Street.”

For P-22’s Sake

by Julia Griffin

“Couple encounter famous LA mountain lion P-22: ‘True natural beauty'”
The Guardian

O feline so fine!
So lauded of late:
Your smile so B-9,
Despite all U-8:

No beauty so true
Will ever be seen
If P-22
Meets AR-15.


by Stephen Gold

“Sarcasm banned as China cracks down on its surly civil servants”
The Telegraph

It seems that Chinese bureaucrats from Beijing to Shanghai
Were insolent, aggressive and (I cannot fathom why)
Averse to the philosophy of service with a smile,
And laughable suggestions they should go the extra mile.

But now that their hostility and failure to perform
Have been attacked, they’re rowing back from rudeness as the norm.
Observe the verve with which they serve, their faces bright and eager,
Dispensing tea and bonhomie (unless you are a Uighur).

Russtic Charm

by Alex Steelsmith

“Leader of Belarus gifts Putin a tractor for 70th birthday…
Tractors have been the pride of Belarusian industry since Soviet times.”

Factory tractory,
Putin’s new vehicle
quite unexpectedly
lends him some charm;

though his endeavors are
one can now picture him
buying the farm.

The Payper Trail

by Steven Kent

“Woman who said Herschel Walker paid for abortion also has child with him…”
The Guardian

Such slander—I shall not repeat
These lies that dog me every day!
What’s that? She kept the damn receipt?
Well, this is awkward, as they say.

Night Thoughts of a Prime Minister

by Philip Kitcher

“King Charles greets Liz Truss with: ‘Back again? Dear, oh dear.’”
The Guardian

“No. 10 dismisses rumours of Liz Truss U-turn on tax cuts.”
The Guardian

The monarch muttered, “Dear, oh dear,”
the second time we met.
His whole demeanor made it clear
I’m not his PM yet.

It seems that every Tory peer
will have a hissy fit.
I must amend my plans, I fear,
and do the opposite.

But hark! A voice from yesteryear,
when Tory virtue shone,
sings songs of triumph in my ear,
to buck me up, and bring me cheer—
it’s Maggie! “Carry on!”