Tag Archives | poetry

Tiger, tiger

“Tiger, tiger with refulgent conflagration in the nocturnal afforestation, kindly provide details regarding nature of supernatural identity responsible for your design and technology.”

A bureaucrat

From ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’ by Alan Fletcher

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Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat

There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
Saying ‘Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him or the train can’t start.’

All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster’s daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying ‘Skimble where is Skimble for unless he’s very nimble
Then the Night Mail just can’t go.’

At 11.42 then the signal’s nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man —
Then Skimble will appear and he’ll saunter to the rear:
He’s been busy in the luggage van!

He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
And the signal goes ‘All Clear!’
And we’re off at last for the northern part
Of the Northern Hemisphere!

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Jabberwocky

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought –

So rested he by the Tumtum tree,

And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’

He chortled in his joy.


`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

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Dearest creature in creation

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

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Ode to the English Plural

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

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OUGH!

The wind was rough
And cold and blough
She kept her hands inside her mough.

It chilled her through
Her nose turned blough
And still the squall the faster flough.

And yet although
There was no snough
The weather was a cruel fough.

It made her cough
(Please do not scough)
She coughed until her hat blew ough!

by Bennet Cerf

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A dreadful language

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it’s said like bed, not bead;
For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother.
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.

And here is not a match for there.
And dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.

Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Why, man alive,
I’d learned to talk it when I was five,
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five!

With thanks to Ruth Allen.

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Haiku for PC users

Windows alerts inspired by Haiku, a traditional Japanese form of poetry.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

More here

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I halve a spelling chequer

I halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea see
It plainly marks four my revue
Mistakes I dew knot sea

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait aweigh

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the era rite
Its rarely ever wrong

I’ve scent this massage threw it
And I’m shore your pleased too no
Its letter prefect in every weigh
My checker tolled me sew

(Original sauce unknown)

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