Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


It’s as Aussie as, writing like this.
Yeah, it looks as if something’s amiss;
It’s colloquial, but.
Guys, it’s open and shut,
As omitting an ending is piss

piss easy (Aust., UK): as easy as

Playing around with similes by omitting the ending is a feature of 21st-century colloquial Australian English (sometimes with the first as omitted as well), a bit like how some Aussies use but at the end of a sentence. They’re both Aussie as.

The teenager showed off his haul:
The hoody he wore to the mall;
Some shoplifted bling;
“Oh, an’ one uvver fing:
Gone an’ got me an Asbo, an’ all.”

The Anti-Social Behaviour Order, introduced to the UK in 1998, can prohibit any behaviour deemed likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress to others, and if breached can result in criminal penalties.

Twenty-one of you, bring up the rear.
That’s the ticket, boys: show ’em no fear!
All the rest, to the front;
Take the enemy’s brunt.
As for me, I’ll be waiting right here.

Well, seeing as how we’re all here,
Let’s examine our plan for next year.
Item 1: War on Terror.
Item 2: System Error.
(Oh, the laptop’s gone down. Dear oh dear.)

“As of today, say your prayers,”
Go the media’s climate-change scares—
As though nobody knew!
As to whether they’re true,
As per usual, nobody cares.

Asafoetida: foul-smelling spice
For curries, to eat with your rice.
Hare Krishnas enjoy
Its flavour, but boy,
One whiff of it makes you think twice.

In ASCII, the sort order goes
In a way that you mightn’t suppose:
There’s a 3 before e;
You have T, then your p;
& + - before all of those.

ASCII is a code by which computers translate bits into alphanumeric characters. A word list sorted in strict ASCII order would list ASCII before aardvark and 10 before one.

In Asgard, three Norse gods of war,
Namely Woden and Frigga and Thor,
Thought they’d all be unique,
And have days of the week
Named after them. Loki’s still sore.

A voluminous intake of ash
Could invite an involuntary crash
Should a jumbo jet fly
Through volcano-stained sky,
Which is why we’re erupting our cash.

My family’s flight home was scheduled to land an hour after the UK closed its airspace on 15 April 2010 because of ash from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. It takes a lot longer to drive home from southern Spain to Scotland than it did to fly the other way, and costs about five times as much.

Despite many a lethal occasion,
Like famine, and war, and invasion,
And rulers who kill—
Despite all of it, still
Over half of the planet is Asian.

An elephant (Asian) once ate
Every pineapple left on a plate
By a careless mahout
Who forgot to point out
They were meant for his African mate.

This uses the normal English pronunciation of ma-HOWT, although personally I use the Thai ma-HOOT, because that’s where I saw elephants eating pineapples.

So he meets with a shifty young guy
Who says, “Man, wanna give this a try?
It’s some powerful stuff!”
He agrees, “Strong enough...
But your asking price, man, is too high.”

Aspartame’s a substitute sweet
You can add to a sugar-free treat.
(But a warning: all phenyl-
ketonuric-type men’ll
React to it. You stick to beet.)

When assailed by assassins demented,
I assuaged them until they relented;
I asked them en masse
To assault not mine ass.
Rest assured—the assassins assented.

Shop at Bang-Mart, for shooters real fine!
It’s the one with a piece on the sign.
Pre-owned bullets, ten cents;
And for cut-price defense,
There’s assault rifles, $9.99.

And now, as you’re all so insistent:
I shall sever in half my assistant!
So, lie down my dear...
Here’s the saw... Have no fear!
(Hmm. Her ribcage is rather resistant.)

Your career isn’t quite non-existent,
But the top of the ladder is distant
In collegiate terms
If your pay-slip confirms
Your professorship rank is assistant.

An associate prof may be lesser
When measured against a professor,
But if covered in tweed,
It’s a challenge indeed
To determine the nattier dresser.

A paramour danger once courted
By savouring sweeties assorted.
His honey found out—
“You confection’ry lout!”
Now his plans to eat candy are thwarted.

He was calm, he was poised, and assured;
To all manner of woes was inured.
Wasn’t like normal folk:
Treated stress as a joke.
But they sacked him, and now the guy’s cured.

So you’re an assurer? You sure?
Yeah, I reckon you’ve heard that before.
So, I die in a ditch
And my kids’ll be rich?
Well, I can’t insure anything more.

Assyriology studies the hour
When carvings of lions would tower,
And the myths of Iraq
Could be found on a plaque:
The era of Babylon’s power.

Among the best symbols there are
Is the asterisk, finest by far.
It’s used to append
Extra words at the end—
Or in places that call for a *

“Good heavens. That’s cause for concern,”
Says the captain—and soon his men learn:
If you crew the Titanic,
It’s too late to panic
When the boss commands, “Full steam astern!”

A lad was chastised by his dad,
But was feeling surprised more than mad.
He took the admonishment
With some astonishment:
Naughtiness don’t equal bad.

Please pardon my ghostly complexion;
I’m having an astral projection.
My spirit has fled,
But I’m not really dead:
Its departure was per my direction.

I’m floating and flitting and flirting
With will-o’-the-wisps in the skirting.
My body’s in pain,
But I dance on a plane
Called the astral, where nothing is hurting.

When you’re baiting a colleague for larks,
Take care with astringent remarks:
The danger at work
Is resentment can lurk
And the minnows will turn into sharks.

An astronaut circles the Earth
In a vessel of limited girth;
When he presses his face
To the window, sees space
Simply dwarfing the place of his birth.

Said a maiden one midsummer’s night,
“Oh, I’m fairly aswoon with delight!
Is it love in the air
Makes me faint beyond bear?
Or perhaps that my corset’s too tight?”

My other co-workers revile ’em,
But me, I just process and file ’em.
They govern our day
So much, you could say
That the lunatics run this asylum.

It’s a function word, common in chat:
“At work”, “at the pub”, “at my flat”.
Thanks to email and text,
We’ll be writing “@” next...
im not suR wot 2 think about that.

Start explaining atemporal? I’m
Pretty sure that the meaning’s sublime,
That it’s open and shut
Definitionally, but
I’m afraid that we’re right out of time.

That salmon—you say it’s Atlantic?
I’m sorry for being pedantic,
But I think it’s Chinook
That you’ve got on your hook,
So Pacific—though now it looks frantic.

Atlantic salmon have escaped from British Columbia fish farms and spawned in local rivers in recent years, where they compete with Pacific species.

The Atlantic’s without, while in here
Huddled bodies lie crowded in fear.
Traders claim to have shown
That our lives aren’t our own,
But our souls aren’t enslaved—they ring clear.

The Atlantic slave trade.

The Arctic is warming; formation
Of new ocean currents, migration
Of southern fish species
(Revealed by their faeces)
And more: it’s Atlantification.

Some scientists study ocean biodiversity by looking at the genetic material shed or excreted by marine life in a particular area. This environmental DNA shows that Atlantic fish species are moving hundreds of kilometres north of their previous ranges. As the Arctic Ocean surface warms, the warmer and saltier waters of the Atlantic, which have always been carried north by ocean currents but previously had remained trapped under cooler, fresher and therefore less dense Arctic waters, are now mixing more easily into the upper layer and melting more sea ice, creating a feedback loop that’s speeding up the transformation of the Arctic. This process has been dubbed Atlantification; some call it borealization to include the equivalent impact of the Pacific, though that term has other connotations (as does pacification).

Was Atlantis impressive? You bet!
The most fabled of lost cities yet.
But its shrine to Poseidon
Went under the tide, ’n’
Its fans never let us forget.

My catalogue query’s the catalyst:
“Enough!” says the athlete, “That’s that—I’ll list
All of my spear-throwing
Stuff, like this here throwing
Stick.” (He’s, y’know, an atlatlist.)

I meant stamps of spears. I’m a philatelist.

The story of Mr J. Merrick
Was filmed by that most esoteric
Director, D. Lynch.
The result makes one flinch,
But it really is quite atmospheric.

The movie was David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980), starring John Hurt as John (actually Joseph) Merrick.

When engaged in their far-reaching duels,
Politicians should follow the rules,
And never misstep on
Their choice of a weapon.
Atomic bombs suffer no fools.

In answer, my child, to your query:
All matter’s atomic, in theory.
All physical articles
Consist of small particles.
The finer points, though, make me weary.

Our society’s so atomistic—
“I’m a somebody, not a statistic!”
But therein lies the puzzle:
We all wear its muzzle.
[Too dismal? Or just fatalistic?]

It’s an instrument worth lots of cash
That sends particles off in a dash:
The Incredible Hulk
Would approve of its bulk
And admiringly say, “Atom SMASH!”

It is, of course, the atom smasher or particle accelerator.

The Lego designs I assemble
Don’t often too closely resemble
The ones on the box,
And when subject to shocks
Leave me fearing collapses, atremble.

When stapling some papers from scratch,
Why not pinch a bunch more for the batch?
Whether A4 or Letter,
There’s nothing that’s better
Than snatching a batch to attach.

Further Reading: Adams, Scott. 1994. Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies: Dogbert’s Big Book of Business. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

You attain it, you gain it, it’s yours:
Your competitors lost in their cause.
Never hand your win back!
(Though a threat of attack
May be reason to give you some pause.)

Attend to this wound, will you, Nurse?
And to this one—my God, even worse!
And his leg... and his gut...
And this knife in his butt...
Never mind. Matron, call for a hearse.

Attila, says Gibbon’s vast tome,
In 452 attacked Rome,
Bagging booty and scalps;
Then returned through the Alps
To his woman (“Oh, honey! I’m hoooome!”).

Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has a lot more on Attila’s invasion of Italy (he spared the city of Rome itself), but takes a bit longer to read.

The crew of the ship gave a roar
When they heard “Let the ee-eagle soar”:
Along for the journey
Was US Attorney
General Ashcroft! (They’d heard him before.)

Not all things take regular form:
Some you think will be hot can be warm.
The everyday stuff
Is familiar enough,
But atypical things aren’t the norm.

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