Poetry

I have a few of my own rules about poetry. The first rule is that it MUST rhyme. Preferably in the middle as well as at the end of each line. Also, it must be grammatically correct. This rule may be relaxed due to rule #1.

Baseball (09 May 1991)

I posted this one near the notice board one Spring to announce the annual formation of our intramural baseball league.

The days of June will soon appear,
And very soon now we should hear,
The crack of bat on leather ball,
And shouting that we′ll hear ′til fall.

But since we′re old and getting lame,
So we don′t fold on our first game,
It now behooves us to be keen,
And practice moves out on the green.

So if you feel you′ll need to know,
When to steal and when to go,
When to stay when you′ve got doubts,
And how to play to make those outs.

Just let us know what′s your′s to gain,
We′ll run and throw till we′re in pain.
So Wednesday next, unless you′re hurt,
We′ll see you flexed out on the dirt.

We′ll do some drills out in the park,
And fire the grills when it gets dark.
Just bring some meat and choice of drink,
To help defeat the pain I think.

Bugged (19 Jan 1989)

I wrote this one after debugging a particularly vexing piece of code. I also wrote it to demonstrate the use of the term "anthropomorphize".

My tasks at work, I never shirk,
When duty becks and calls.
But now I′m still, afraid I will,
Go screaming down the halls.

My task has trapped, the error tended.
If it is apt, my job′s abended.
I′m bugged again, I do surmize.
And if I can, anthropomorphize:

My program states, the system hates.
It really can be mean.
I want to shout, when I′m put out,
By ghosts in the machine.

Compile! Re-link! Review the text.
I′m at the brink of being vexed.
There′s nothing wrong with all my code.
I must be strong, and make it load.

My program source, is good of course.
Maybe I′ll try a dump.
I′ll print the core, and try some more,
To overcome this hump.

Eventually I′ll find the bug,
Then I′ll be some kind of smug.
It′s never lack in my design,
(My clever knack is always fine.)

It′s often just some punctuation,
Why that must cause me such frustration,
Frets and vexing to undergo,
Is something I will never know.

Missing quotes, an extra brace,
Mistallied totes in octal base.
A default cleared before the run,
A limit neared, but off by one.

The day I make that final fix,
And take a break from Unix tricks,
Will bring me to I know not when,
But ′til I do, I′m bugged again.

Exabyte (18 Dec 1989)

I wrote this memo to announce the new type of tape drives we had acquired.

The dataflow squeeze that′s caused us such anguish,
Is likely to ease so we don′t need to languish.
The Exabyte drive and its "scuzzy" bus nexus,
Will quickly deprive us of problems that vex us.

We now have a way to get huge files on-line,
And I think we can say that it seems to work fine.
According to claims it′s compatible enough,
Except that it aims to hold so much stuff.

The name for each unit is stuck on the front,
If you plan on doin′ it you′ll need for your stunt,
An eight millimeter tape you can borrow from John,
To help you escape from the hardware you′re on.

Funspiel Rules (18 Feb 1991)

We used to have a curling league at work. Every year we would have a "Fun Spiel", which was a game played with silly rules for scoring. This was the announcement I posted in my official capacity as League "Scorekeeper For Life".

The rules next week for curling fun,
Will be unique for each end done.
Once each new end is played this game,
You must amend to shift the blame,
Your shooting queue up one spot more.
(From lead to two or third to four.)

If you should hog a rock you throw,
You must this log for all to know,
By ringing loud the small school bell,
And dropping proud two bits as well.

Let it be known as we begin,
That every stone needs clockwise spin.
To let rocks stay the second end,
The other way just make them bend.

The third end spin can go both ways,
But rocks left in both scores will raise.
End number four one team will win,
But count the score from outside in.

The fifth end trip when rocks have crossed,
The tee line strip they are then tossed.
The sixth end scheme is just as fine,
You must careem them past that line.

The seventh one to score it right,
Once you′re all done nix rocks on white.
The last end sum both teams can rack,
All rocks that come to rest on black.

The score′s then penned ten for a win,
One for each end; Five when akin.
And one fourth point for every stone,
For we′ll annoint the champs as shown.
Then bring your team for Chinese feast,
And we will deem who′s most and least.

The Gain in Lorraine (28 Aug 1991)

This was to thank the Baseball League MVP for her participation on our team.

When first our scouts found you last May,
We had no doubts that you could play;
You had a glove and knew the rules,
And seemed to love to play with fools.

But as time passed it soon became,
Clear that your skill surpassed our game.
And now we must from all our ranks,
To you entrust and give our thanks.

For taking the outs from umps who don′t see,
And heeding the shouts of the coach on base three,
Ignoring the jeers of the enemy′s bores,
And adding your cheers to the noise of our scores.

For all the right stuff and being so keen,
Like how to be tough without being mean.
For knowing the spot to be on when they swing,
To cash in the shot and another out bring.

For taking a strike when logic commands,
When maybe you like the way that it lands.
For making the snag and knowing of course,
When you must tag and when there′s a force.

For playing so fine and being a good sport,
We give you the line: "Thanks for your support".

Nocturne (20 Dec 1992)

This poem weas written simply because no poetry collection would be complete without a poem of this name. This is my most technically difficult poem due to the constraints imposed by the underlying astronomical mathematics. And yes, I understand that half the time midwinter night is the longest, but the other half the time it may be the day before or after. It depends really on whether the exact moment of the solstice is closer to local noon the day before or the day after, and that depends on where in the world you are at, and whether it was / is going to be a leap year, etc.

Our nearby Star in a couple of weeks,
Will shrink by far its zenith′s peaks,
Causing twits to smugly say:
"That′s why it′s the shortest day."

But with our math as Kepler found,
A planet′s path is not quite round.
Its motion nigh a gravity source,
Is governed by an inverse course.

This makes the Sun in its path the ecliptic,
Speed up its run in a manner elliptic.
The way this affects perceived solar duration,
Is dwarfed by effects of our poles inclination.

That major reason for nights to crawl,
At switch of season to winter from fall,
Has change of null in it′s daily strength,
And makes a lull in nocturnal change length.

Sundial drift we then perceive,
As one day′s shift of longest eve.
So please; Let′s fight that misinformation,
That midwinter night has longest duration.

Oktoberquest (08 Oct 1990)

I sent this note out to remind people that I would be on vacation for a few weeks to go Moose hunting.

The autumn leaves collect on eaves for city folk this week.
While evening cold and dank and mold make camping look real bleak.
But now′s the time for trips sublime amongst the pine and spruce,
To hunt and track and then attack the wily northern moose.

And rabbits too or grouse will do or maybe even some duck.
When in my scope they′ve lost their hope and run out on their luck.
I′ll hunt all day the ancient way thinking like a beast.
And look for sign so my carbine will bag for me a feast.

And if fate wills and gives me kills my friends I will entreat,
To spear and brown and then chow down on nature-fattened meat.
So keep in tune and real soon I′ll send a note to you,
To set a date for my next fete; a "Feral Flesh Fondue".

Real Confused (13 Dec 1988)

Anyone who has ever had to write a utility to interconvert floating point representations will appreciate this poem.

Converting a real can be such a bitch,
It′s such a big deal the components to switch.
Some powers don′t fit with some bases forbidden,
And there′s one extra bit that always stays hidden.

Now some will say left and some will say right,
Is the portion most deft for your uppermost byte.
Someone′s first bit′s marks position of highness,
But some say that it′s for a plus or a minus.

So if you have needs of a task to transpose,
Floating point feeds without giving you woes,
Heed my appeals and make it your norm,
To save all your reals in printable form.

Red Green Blues (23 Nov 1993)

I wrote this one on proper treatment of CRTs before screen savers and degaussing circuits became common.

If colours on your screen are important to your jobs,
A force that can′t be seen can draw you coloured globs.
The magnets that we use to hold our paperwork,
Can monkey with the hues and turn them into murk.

To fix a screen up right that′s had a magnet on its face,
We′re required to invite a service agent to our place
So keep them out of reach and help preserve your screens,
Or the colours you might bleach or turn the blues to greens.

And don′t forget that phosphor tiles which constitute the colour,
Will only last for certain whiles and eventually get duller.
Colour tube or monochrome when you are all through,
Turn it off when you go home to keep your troubles few.

Plan It with Granite (26 Oct 1990)

As part of my duties as ‘Curling Scorekeeper For Life’, I posted this notice on the sports announcement board to advise people how they could bump their team scores in the upcoming game simply by following the dress code.

All Hallow`s Eve will be on us next week,
I also perceive that our own curling clique,
Will parry that night in game number three,
While scary with fright we really should be.

So if you`re in need of an edge for the match,
The Prez has decreed two points you can snatch,
If all of your crew from the skip to the lead,
Is dressed as you`d do for a Halloween`s deed.

Now should you elect your score to so fudge,
Your suits must be checked by an impartial judge,
Before the two stones will be summed to your score,
It must be condoned by our dear friend Lenore.

Keen to be Green (06 Jun 1991)

When my workplace embarked on a campaign to reduce waste, I posted a copy of this on the cafeteria notice board.

To preserve the Amazon woods,
I persist in consuming such goods,
As chocolate and coffee,
And Brazil-cashew toffee,
To keep trees from the lumberjack hoods.

My engine I like to run swift,
I red-line with each every shift,
The carbon's blown out,
When I'm running about,
So efficiency gets a big lift.

To save water for cleanup at dinner,
My habits will make me a winner,
I eat over the sink,
And from milk cartons I drink,
So I won't be an energy sinner.

And then for my post-dinner smidge,
To save power that's used by my fridge,
It's almost as nice,
To have Scotch with no ice,
And save power for our heritage.

Notice of No Sys (25 Jan 1991)

This is a simple notice advising users of scheduled system maintenance.

Our stalwart machines so dear to our hearts,
Have service routines to maintain their parts,
And now we are due for time with a tech,
To make them like new and bring them to spec.

The system it seems will have to be stalled,
Our service guy deems the last time he called,
For one day to test and vacuum our chips,
To stop and arrest thoses glitches and blips.

I'll try to keep moving as much as is prudent,
While he's improving the life of the student.
The day that he asks for his toils and inpsects,
To schedule his tasks is the thirtieth next.

Tape Labelling (16 Nov 1989)

As a system manager, users would often bring a tape containing ‘important data’. More often than not, they would have very little idea about the data format, because it came from the file cabinet of someone long-gone from the work unit. This did not make the job of reading tapes easy.

Users beware of the labour intensity,
Of reading a tape without knowing its density.
Or writing real numbers in binary code,
To go on a system where they won't load.

If they're important make file backups twice,
Take out the write ring and heed my advice.
The date of creation should appear on the label,
As well put your name on the tape if you're able.

What formats were used or what program was run,
What system it came from when it was done.
So please take the time to scrawl up a jot,
So the tape can tell us if it's here and you're not.

Terminal Condition (20 Dec 1990)

One of the systems I managed used tape cartridges built into the terminals. One day, a bonehead user decided to oil the drives, which promptly turned the rubber wheels into something with a consistency of chewing gum.

Our HP twenty six four fives,
Do special tricks with little drives,
To load the cache with jobs to do,
After a crash of disk drive two.

Below the screen are tiny doors,
You may have seen on some of yours,
Someone was keen to with them toil,
And tried to clean them out with oil.

Its tiny wheels were turned to gunk,
And gumed our reels with gooey junk,
Because we need them not so marred,
I have decreed them user-barred.

Bring Back My Pokey (08 Feb 1989)

I wrote this one when some rustlers kidnapped my ‘Pokey’ action figure. (Sung to the tune: "Bring back my Bonnie")

To whomever rustled my Pokey,
I'd like to give you a decree,
You've gone well past being just jokey,
Oh bring back my Pokey to me.

(Chorus)
Bring back, bring back,
Oh bring back my Pokey to me, to me.
Bring back, bring back,
Oh bring back my Pokey to me.

In old times they strung up their horse theives,
And sent posses for those that did flee,
But I'll grant you undeserved reprieves,
If you bring my orange horse to me.

(Chorus)

So take pity on that helpless pony,
And pay heed to my gentle decree,
To avoid some equine acrimony,
Just bring back my Pokey to me.

(Chorus)

Valentine Poem Generator (14 Feb 1990)

Here is my Valentine′s couplet collection. Choose couplets from the lists below to make a unique poem for your sweetie. Be selective, or you might have your poetic licence revoked for careless driveling. (Note that the copyright protection that applies to most of the website has been derogated for this entry alone. Instead, the terms of Link sappywrite apply.)

Love poetry must start with:

Roses are red, and violets are blue.

Pick one of the following lines to complete the couplet:

Yearnings unsaid I hold in from you.
Thoughts in my head keep turning to you.
From deep in my head, an idea′s come through.
The less it is said, the more it is true.

Now, soften her with some flattery. Add a few of these couplets:

Peaches are acid but cream is a base,
My world is so placid when I see your face.

Bluegrass is green but Greenland is not,
I think you are keen and I mean that a lot.

Rubies are red, and beryls are green,
Let it be said: You′re the sweetest I′ve seen.

Red squirrels are brown, blue sables are grey,
Your being aroun′ just brightens my day.

Next, reveal a few hidden feelings:

Bubbles are round and boxes are square,
My lyrics profound are all that I dare.

Water is clear yet clouds are opaque,
I hazard to fear I′ll make some mistake.

Lightning makes thunder and fire makes smoke,
I don′t want to blunder and coolness evoke.

Balsam has cones and maple has keys,
My spirit bemoans to give you a squeeze.

Sunbeams are gold, and sunsets are pink,
If I seem too bold, it′s my kismet I think.

Topaz is gold and emeralds green,
With you in my hold I′d be quite serene.

Black spruce is green, and so is white pine,
I′ll be serene if you will be mine.

Milk is quite fluid but honey is thick,
I wonder if you′d take to me very quick.

Koalas eat leaves and pandas bamboo,
My heart aggrieves to mark time with you.

Electrons are loose but protons are snug,
I need an excuse to give you a hug.

These admissions are followed by suggestions:

Photons make heat with no mass of their own,
I think we should meet so we won′t be alone.

Tigers have bands but leopards have spots,
Let′s link our hands and throw in our lots.

Sapphires are blue, and diamonds are white,
My message to you I hope I get right.

Spearmint is cool but cinnamon′s hot,
I′m hoping that you′ll submit to my plot.

Butter is yellow and cocoa is brown,
Humour this fellow and settle me down.

Silver turns black and uranium yellow,
I′m sure you′ve the knack to melt down this fellow.

Copper turns green and iron makes rust,
Your karma I′ve seen makes joining a must.

The suggestions are followed by promises:

Snow can make drifts and rain will form puddles,
I′ll bring loads of gifts and kisses and cuddles.

Peacocks are blue and flamingos are pink,
My passions for you I can free in a blink.

Silver′s a metal but ruby′s a rock,
Your worries I′ll settle and heart I′ll unlock.

Canvas is rough but satin is smooth,
With babble enough your worries I′ll sooth.

Neutrinos exist with no charge or mass,
If you insist, I′ll try not to be crass.

Although she is by now completely mesmerized by the poetry, it still helps to leave her the impression that her own free will is somehow involved. Follow the promises with a plaintive query:

Puppies make whines and kittens make mews,
Remember my lines when you go to chose.

Mail goes by air and bananas by boat,
It′s all that I dare to ask for your vote.

Tree sloths are slow but rabbits are quick,
And I need to know: "Can I be your pick?"

I suggest pairing the couplets into quatrains. To create your own couplets, remember that the first line should be unambiguously true, and rhyme the second line of the couplet to the first one in at least two places.This will subconciously link it to the first line making it more believable. Use one of the following subjects for the blatantly true first line:

Warm-blooded animals, especially cute or helpless ones. The nurturing instincts this activates are then tranferred to you.

Forces of nature. (Meteorology / Particle Physics / Oxidization / etc). These imply that your amorous feelings are on the same scale.

Edible substances. If you can make her salivate, you′re already half-way towards a wet kiss.

Expensive substances. Same reason as above.

Javascript Phone Poem Generator

The Javascript Phone Poem Generator is a javascript-based html form that takes any whole number up to ten digits and uses the poem factor theorem to turn it into two quatrains, each of which is a double pair of roughly pentameter in-line couplets. (For seven digit numbers. The ten digit ones tend towards hex / heptameters.)

As part of my contribution to making this world a better place, I have taken it upon myself to educate people about certain things that I feel are important. Thus, you must correctly answer all the questions in the following poetry examination in order to proceed to the javascript Phone Poem Generator:

Poetry Exam

(1) Poetry can best be defined as follows:

It′s all about the feelings that are evoked. If your writing can create the vertigo we feel when we gaze into the abyss of the night sky, or the warmth we feel in our stomachs when we lock eyes with a baby, then you can call it poetry. If your words alone can give someone goosebumps or a lump in the throat, then you can rightfully call yourself a poet.
It needs to rhyme. Otherwise call it something else.

(2) The complete works of E. E. Cummings:

Are an important canon of contemporary poetry.
Can easily be corrected with a few lines of javascript.

(3) The following are good subjects to use when writing love poetry:

Automobiles, baseball, beer, and javascript.
Supernovas, sapphires, chinchillas, and enchiladas.

(4) Brian Mulroney was the 18th Prime Minister of Canada.

Thus he is entitled to be addressed as "The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney".
He was the most deceptive, prevaricous, mendacious, guilefull, prevaricating, shifty two-faced skunk that ever darkened the doors of the House of Parliament.

Soon after taking office, he tried to reneg on a campaign promise and de-index the old age pensions, until thousands of cane-wielding citizens showed up on Parliament Hill to teach him some manners.

That was when he became known publicly as "Lyin′ Brian", and Canadians started using phrases like "Don′t try to Mulroney me!" or "That sounds like a load of Mulroney!". Later, when he noticed that existing senators would veto a law he was pushing, he simply went to England and begged the Queen to let him stack the senate with a herd of slop-swilling cronies.

At one point, he held a referendum on a constitutional proposal, the "Charlottetown Accord". But this was too full of catch-phrases and vague promises to fool the Canadian people.

It essentially boiled down to the question: "Do you trust me to implement a new constitution?" Canadians overwhelmingly voted "No". This slap in the face to Mulroney was portrayed by the separatist-controlled media in Québec as a "Slap in the face to Québec", because Québec politicians had promoted it for their own reasons using a different (French) set of catch-phrases and vague promises.

Eventually, Mulroney was disgraced into leaving his post by a huge scandal. He refused to answer questions about it at the time, but years later he admitted (under oath) to jetting to Europe several times to receive envelopes stuffed with money in ′consultant fees′. Obviously, Mulroney is too stupid to be a consultant. As far as that goes, he is too gutless to be a hit man, and too ugly to be a call-boy. If you enumerate the professions where the pay is traditionally passed in money-filled envelopes, that pretty much only leaves influence-peddling.

In any case, people were so mad at him that his political party (Progressive Conservative) suffered the worst electoral defeat in Canadian history, and then went on to well-deserved oblivion.

Click on the button above to evaluate your answers to the poetry exam. It will take you to the javascript Phone Poem Generator if you pass the exam. If you have "cookies" enabled, this page will "remember" your answers the next time you visit. Also, the javascript Phone Poem Generator itself will allow you to go to it directly instead of passing through this page.