Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins

Bi-Bn

This all-time best-seller is liable
To portrayal by some as too pliable:
No few have attacked
The arrayal of “fact”
In the Bible as unverifiable.

Bibliography: Name-ordered list
Of references; these can consist
Of articles, books,
And the like. (Well, it looks
Like we’re done, so let’s go and play whist.)

Methuselah boasted, “My dears,
I’ve confirmed all my enemies’ fears:
I’ve neglected to die,
And so celebrate my
Bicentenary—200 years!”

Methuselah’s story continues...

When a cyclist with tastes kinda blue
Spotted twins, he knew just what to do:
He would roundly demand ’em,
“Let’s do it in tandem—
This bicycler’s well-built for two.”

The crewman asked, “Why have we hidden
Our casket of gold in this midden?”
Said the mate, “So a pirate
Won’t stop to admire it.
Keep digging, lad! Do as you’re bidden!”

Fangin’ north in me souped-up Torana,
I’ve promised ’er tourist nirvana.
As we’re drivin’, she scoffs,
“What’s so good about Coffs?”
Then she sees it: a [cough] Big Banana.

Coffs Harbour, a city on the north coast of New South Wales about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, is best-known for its iconic big thing: a 13m long sculpture billed as the “biggest banana in the world”. Sadly, the Big Banana is lying prone rather than standing proud, but it’s still quite a sight. Since its erection in 1964 to promote its owner’s roadside banana stall, it’s been turned into the Big Banana Fun Park, with water slides, laser tag, mini golf, bumper cars, and the “World of Bananas” plantation tour experience.

The Holden Torana was a mid-sized car made from 1967 to 1980, beloved of fangin’ hoons.

My Fluffy? You’re saying he’s fat?
Well, he’s large, I agree—there is that.
He can bite, yes—and sure,
His meow’s more a roar.
He’s—I see what you mean—a big cat.

A big big game hunter, Big Ted,
Spied a big big cat. Shooting it dead,
Said, “That’s lions. Next, cheetahs.
My list ain’t complete, as
A few live in Asia instead.”

As well as Africa’s lions, cheetahs and leopards, big cats include Asia’s tigers and snow leopards and the Americas’ jaguars and cougars.

If you don’t know Big Country, then why’re
You waiting? Just play “Fields of Fire”.
Dinnae ken what a “Porroh
Man” is? Buy or borrow
The Crossing: there’s much to admire.

Big Country made a splash in 1983 with their single “In a Big Country” and debut album The Crossing, and their devoted fans carried them through seven more studio albums until the suicide of lead singer Stuart Adamson (1958–2001). Adamson, who was born in Manchester but raised in Dunfermline in Fife, founded the punk band Skids in 1977, which had a UK top ten hit with “Into the Valley”, before leaving over disagreements with lead singer Richard Jobson. Adamson’s next band brought him international fame; Big Country’s distinctive bagpipe-sounding guitars saw them mentioned in the same breath as U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen. He formed one more band, the Raphaels, shortly before his death. Big Country regrouped in 2007 with new lead singers, and have released a further studio album and many collections of rarities and live recordings since.

Reproductively, Big Foot agreed
That his prospects were hopeless indeed:
He’d be heirless, unless he
Had congress with Nessie
And fathered a Big Centipede.

Big Ted was a hunter: big game
Was his prey. He shot sheep without shame.
Also cows, and a pig.
“Hey, you only said big.
You didn’t say nothin’ ’bout tame.”

Big Ted is a little confused: game animals and birds are wild, so big game means animals like deer, buffalo, lions, tigers and elephants—any large animal hunted by people for sport, basically. Not many birds would qualify as big game, though ostriches would, I suppose.

The Big Mac index measures the price
Of a burger, a handy device
For comparing one place
With another. One case:
In Malaysia, one-seventy—nice.

The Economist has been publishing annual lists comparing this lighthearted measure of purchasing-power parity with the exchange rates of major currencies since 1986. The 2008 price in Malaysia, 5.50 ringgit or US$1.70, suggested an undervaluation of its currency of 52% against the US, where the average price was $3.57.

Go through Goulburn? I s’pose... take a break
On our drive up to Sydney. Don’t make
A turn here! “Big Merino”?
Pah! Some sheep I’ve seen... oh.
By “big” they mean big. My mistake.

The New South Wales regional city of Goulburn, a popular stop on the drive up to Sydney from Canberra, is famous for its big thing, a 50-foot tall concrete Merino ram built over a two-storey gift shop and wool display (15.2 metres, to be exact, but “fifty foot” sounds more impressive, and it’s nothing if not impressive). When it opened in 1985 the Big Merino was smack in the middle of town, but after a bypass was built in the 1990s it was eventually relocated closer to the new route of the Hume Highway. One of my fondest memories of driving along the Hume is of taking a friend past it for the first time and relishing his reaction. In its new more spacious location, sadly, it just doesn’t seem as big.

“Don’t say homophobe! Don’t call me racist!
Such vile accusations! The basest!
Why, only a bigot
Would open that spigot
Of wokeness, you anti-white-face-ist!”

Many people nowadays who just happen to be white are eager to claim that the true bigots are those who accuse them of bigotry. A bill introduced in the Florida Senate in January 2024, for example, seeks to punish those who have hurt someone’s feelings by accusing them of homophobia, transphobia, racism or sexism with a US$35,000 fine.

Big Banana, Big Pineapple, and
Big Merino: some things in this land
Are incredibly big.
Big Potato, Prawn, Pig
(Wait a sec—wasn’t that one a band?)...

The Big Cane Toad, Big Lobster, Galah,
Apple, Rocking Horse, Bullock (I’m far
From the end), Barramundi,
Ned Kelly (on Sund’y,
Let’s look for some more in the car),

Big Strawberry, Giant Murray Cod,
Golden Gumboot (yeah, that’s pretty odd),
The Big Turtle—oh, look, a
Big Stubbie—Big Kooka-
burra, Wine Bottle, Lollipop—God!—

Boxing Crocodile, Easel (I knew
I’d missed that), Western Rock Lobster too,
Big Orange, Big Peanut,
Big Beer Can (ain’t seen it),
Big Dugong and Big Kangaroo,

Big Cassowary, Penguin and Bogan—
“Build it bloody enormous”, our slogan—
And a Giant Koala
(Sure beats an impala!).
Big Chris, soon? But no Big Paul Hogan.

Australia’s big things—landmark sculptures or novelty buildings designed to look like something or someone representative of their location—emerged in parallel with the so-called “Roadside Giants” of the United States. The first examples in the early 1960s were the Big Scotsman outside a motel in Adelaide and the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The few dozen listed here are only some of the best-loved of the many that have followed.

There’s no Big Pig (sorry, Babe fans), though there was indeed an Aussie band of that name in the 1980s, but there is now a Big Pigeon in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall—although as it’s made out of stainless steel, rather than fibreglass or concrete, and looks like proper art, it probably shouldn’t count. Comedian Paul Hogan, best known for playing “Crocodile” Dundee, hasn’t rated a big thing—yet—but the NSW town of Cowra is attempting to raise funds to build a 40m tall statue of Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hemsworth was born in Melbourne and raised in the Northern Territory, so has no particular connection with Cowra. As this would be almost three times as tall as my personal favourite, the Big Merino, I expect a visit will be in order should they ever manage it.

A bike pump inflates a flat tyre
In a jiffy. Each “pfft” will inspire
A self-satisfied glow:
Now your cycle can go
Up the mountainside, higher and higher.

If yer after a snack, then a quickie
Is here in this tin: it’s a bikkie.
Yes, a biscuit (by Arnott’s)
Is bewdiful—carn, it’s
A choccy one... hands a bit sticky?

Aussie kids eat biscuits (cookies) at any available opportunity, and a raid on the bikkie tin is a regular school holiday occurrence. If it’s the summer holidays and they’re choccy bikkies—chocolate biscuits, such as Tim Tams—they’re liable to be melted on the outside and tricky to handle. Whether they’re choccy bikkies or plain bikkies, they’ll almost certainly have been made by Arnott’s, who have bought out most of their competitors over the years. Carn means come on, usually shouted at the footy.

I’m full as a goog in Bilbao,
Eatin’ pintxos while bar-hoppin’. How
’Bout that shiny ol’ Guggenheim!
’Sfabulous lookin’. I’m
Due más cerveza ’bout now...

Frank Gehry’s extraordinary titanium-clad design for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao immediately made it one of Europe’s most famous buildings, and put the biggest city of the Basque Country squarely on the tourist map. Pintxos (the Basque spelling; in Spanish, pinchos), named for the toothpicks that hold them together, are the local tapas served in bars for a euro or two apiece. They’re often elaborately designed and almost always delicious—the perfect excuse to keep drinking beer.

Goog, pronounced like the Gugg, is Australian slang for an egg. Aussie tourists (like mi hermano y yo) who are “full as a goog” are either full of food or drunk—or both.

In our billycarts, tearing downhill,
My brother and I used to thrill
At each bump and tight bend,
Braking hard at the end,
’Cos that fence of barbed-wire could kill.

My brother and I grew up in a Federation home in rural Tasmania, on a hill above a paddock full of gumtrees and wattles that our parents had planted to cut the wind. Our dad was handy in the workshop, and made each of us billycarts using old pram and lawn-mower wheels. We would hurtle downhill on these, past the trees and bracken, on a well-worn path that veered left at the bottom in front of the barbed-wire fence. Sometimes we didn’t veer in time.

Billycarts go by various names elsewhere, such as go-carts or soapbox cars. The Australian term derives from billygoat carts, as earlier versions were goat-drawn.

The word mega, when I was a teen,
Was our slang for “immense” on the scene.
Now that numbers got bigger,
Do kids all say giga?
Or tera? Not scary, I mean.

The numbers involved in computing have scaled enormously in my lifetime (I’m actually a little older than our narrator): a kilobyte, approximately 1000 bytes, used to be the standard unit of computer storage in the 1980s, then a megabyte (around a million bytes) in the 1990s, then a gigabyte (109 bytes) in the 2000s, and now external disk drives come in terabytes (1012 bytes). Along the way people stopped thinking of kilo-, mega-, giga- and tera- in terms of binary, i.e. 210, 220, 230 and 240, but in more familiar decimal figures, i.e. 103, 106, 109 and 1012. In the late 1990s the binary prefixes were amended to kibi-, mebi-, gibi- and tebi- (and, scaling further accordingly, pebi-, exbi-, zebi- and yobi-, parallel to peta-, exa-, zetta- and yotta-). So much for my 1980s computer science degree.

As far as I know, 2020s kids don’t call awesome things giga or tera. Stay mega, Nineties kids.

Here in Sydney, through skips we are pickin’,
As leftover scraps we get nickin’.
Though in Egypt they’re ibises,
The term used to jibe us is
(Dear Thoth, how demeaning) bin chicken.

Most ornithologists no longer consider the Australian white ibis to be the same species as the African sacred ibis, though it looks similar and belongs to the same genus. The bird is widespread in eastern, northern and south-western Australia; the degradation of its wetland habitat has led to it becoming a familiar sight around the urban parks, rubbish tips and bins of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth—hence its nickname, a Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Week in 2021. Less common nicknames include dump chook and tip turkey. The bin chicken was voted the runner-up Australian Bird of the Year in 2017.

The bindi-eyes blightin’ your lawn
Hurt as bad in your foot as a thorn
When you’re barefoot and runnin’
Around; there’s no fun in
’Em—put on your thongs, parents warn.

Bindis are the small barbed heads of several species of Australian plants, especially from the genus Caloti in the daisy family, which form after their flowers die. They have horrible needle points that stick the burrs to animal fur and, more painfully, stick into the soles of feet. Wearing thongs (of the Australian footwear kind, not the kind you might be thinking of) could help.

Kylie’s off to her parents’, but still I
Don’t know if the kids are, until I
Inquire (using rhyming
Slang—maybe bad timing),
“So, I’ll take the billy lids, will I?”

Then, pushing my luck, for a thrill, I
Suggest to the billy lids, “Will I
Get ice cream for tea?”
As they’re screaming with glee,
Kylie gives me that look-that-could-kill eye.

As the Aussie Avengers all mingle,
Redback-Spider-Man’s senses now tingle:
Looks like Captain Australia’s
Kicked off (“I’ll assail yez!”)
An’ Iron Bloke’s up for a bingle.

A bingle in Oz is a fight or a skirmish. It can also mean a collision, especially a car crash, as in, “You don’t want to have a bingle in your shiny new Corolla, Bull-Ant-Man.”

Redback spiders—and bull ants—are nasty bitey Aussie critters.

In Britain, to bin means rescind,
Or dispose of, like lettuce. Hence, twinned
With terms junked, scrapped and trashed
(“The economy’s crashed
Thanks to Truss’s binned budget”) is binned.

A few weeks after Liz Truss became UK prime minister in 2022, Economist executive editor Andrew Palmer predicted that she wouldn’t outlast the shelf life of a supermarket lettuce. When Truss resigned after only 45 days in office, the Daily Star declared its own livestreamed lettuce in a blonde wig the victor over the “Iceberg Lady”.

When your projects are biogenetic,
The critics become energetic:
“No experiments using
Our genes! You’re abusing
Your role!” (They prefer the synthetic?)

Biogenetics is a technique for producing scarce biological substances (such as human insulin) by introducing plant or animal DNA into bacteria and harvesting the resulting bacterial colony.

Biological: Life finds a way.
Anthropology: Humans at play,
Work and rest. Put the two
Things together, and you
Have a job till you’re old and you’re grey.

...as a biological anthropologist.

Nature made you the person you are;
Just accept it and you will go far.
You can’t blame your strife
On the foes in your life.
Now get in the back of the car.

Biological determinism.

“Chirpy chirpy,” says birdie, “cheep cheep,”
Interrupting my slumberful sleep.
All his cheeping’s too chirpy,
And makes me all urpy.
You’re four hours early, you creep!

This chile is fiendishly hot—
Around six-figure Scovilles, it’s got.
It’s named for the eye
Of a bird. You know why?
Rub your eyes, you’ll fly off like a shot.

Bird’s-eye chile peppers measure 100,000 to 225,000 on the Scoville heat unit scale, compared with 2,500-8,000 for jalapenos. They’re actually named for their small size.

Waiter! There’s straw in my soup!
And feathers, and some kinda goop.
It’s saliva? A swallow’s?
From nests? Then it follows
That this stuff is... let’s ask the group.

The swallows’ nests used to make bird’s nest soup are actually picked clean and washed before use, so you won’t find any feathers or... things that rhyme with soup.

Waiter! This soup’s for the birds—
Quite literally. There are no words
For the sight of a nest
In a bowl; and the rest
Is disgusting! What are those things? Curds?

Give me birdsong: so subtle, so sweet!
So expressive, with such a fair beat!
Who could ever forget
That divine minuet,
“Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet Tweet”?

I biroed this limerick by hand
With a biro, or ballpoint; I’d planned
To delight you in cursive,
But ink is dispersive
When drawn from a second-rate brand.

All the knowledge and riches on earth
Can’t begin to approach what it’s worth
To have seen it all through
And be welcoming you
To the world at your moment of birth.

For William.

A birther insists there’s no way
To believe what officials all say.
“Obama was born,”
He announces with scorn,
“Somewhere else, not the U.S. of A.”

A piece from June 2009, when this word and the ridiculous claims behind it were still new. Now we know all too well where birtherism led: to the presidency of birther-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.

Suffice to say, even if President Barack Obama hadn’t been born in the United States, which he was, but even if he wasn’t, he was still a natural-born citizen of the U.S.A. under the law as it stood at the time of his campaign and election—unless his birther critics were suggesting that his mother wasn’t American either. Which she was.

Your birthplace is where you were born.
In youth, you may say that you scorn
All its foibles and flaws
And abandon its shores,
But in age, that may leave you forlorn.

Mrs Quail said, “I don’t wanna gwouse,
But this cweature keeps chewing me, spouse.”
Mr Q. said, “That true?
Then he’s gnawing on two...
Time to quit with the biting, you louse!”

The beastly biting louse mainly nibbles the birds.

Thistorrentofdatatransmits
incontinuoussequenceitsbits
inarushdownthepipes
oftheinternet—yipes!
This is hardly a stream, it’s a blitz!

Mum’s pet-loving sister, Aunt Pat,
Has a budgie, a dog and a cat.
Her mutt kinda fits ’er:
A mongrel, or bitser,
Which means “bitser this, bitser that”.

A bivvy bag (bivouac sack)
Takes the place of a tent in your pack
When you’ve mountains to climb,
But ain’t wasting no time
Lugging canvas and poles on your back.

Bivvy bags are lightweight waterproof shells designed to slip over sleeping bags and provide additional insulation and protection against the elements, for those times when there ain’t no mountain high enough to make it worth carrying a tent.

My website on Chaucer’s a floppe;
Its oversized giffes need a croppe!
I wouldst change or biwrixle
Each opptional pixel
If onlie I hadst Photoshoppe.

A word for transform last recorded in 1225, which predates even Chaucer.

Bizarrely, the Boozer’s Bazaar
Sells its fortified port by the jar
And its brandy in buckets...
It’s bloody good luck it’s
Just seventeen minutes by car.

So you fancy a bout of bizarreness?
Here, put on this saddle and harness,
Then chomp on this bit
And allow me to sit
On your back... why the look of such farness?

Whatcha mean, I don’t show enough flair
For Reporter with Soft Toy Repair?
I know how to wheedle,
I’m good with a needle,
And gotta BJ and a bear!

Beware of the hazards that lurk
In the name of the Icelander, Björk:
She’ll let out a squawk
At “Buh-yorrk” or “Buh-jawk”;
Mispronouncing it drives her berserk.

Critics might say that said squawks form the basis of much of her recorded output, but I would never be so mean.

Americium tremors all jerk’ly
When hammered with ions berserkly.
The radioactive
Result is attractive:
It’s berkelium, named after Berkeley.

“How I wish I were born as a panda,”
She pined, with bamboozling candour.
“Life’s simple, all right,
When it’s all black-and-white.”
I’m suspecting Chinese propaganda.

The blackberry grows in a thicket
Of thorns—any finger, they’ll prick it—
But tastes so inviting
I long to start biting,
And scramble through brambles to pick it.

Bonnie blackfaces wander the heather
And hillsides of Scotland. Together,
These sheep graze its islands
And forage the Highlands,
Their backs turned to face the grey weather.

The black-headed ibis is white
On the rest of its body—a sight
For sore eyes across Asia.
One name, though, might faze ya:
Oriental white ibis. That’s right.

Because the term Oriental is considered derogatory in some parts of the world, this bird is also called the black-headed or black-necked ibis. Most ornithologists no longer consider it to be the same species as the African sacred ibis, though it looks similar and belongs to the same genus.

You’re a black-hearted, venomous hack, mister
And you? You’re a stab in the back, sister.
So what if I’m red?
Least my conscience ain’t dead—
By Stalin’s mustache, I’m no blacklister!

In Orkney, the humble black oat
Gets the blackface sheep’s aets-eatin’ vote.
A woolly maw bristles
At nettles and thistles,
But small oats are sheep feed of note.

Small, black or bristle oats, known in the Northern Isles of Scotland as Shetland oats or aets, grow well on poorer soils and are used there as animal feed, as well as in the Hebrides and Brazil. In parts of Scotland they were historically used to produce flour; in the isles, the oat straw from Avena strigosa was traditionally used to make baskets and strawbacked chairs.

Black Panther, the king of Wakanda,
Is tough: to upset him’s a blunder.
Vibranium gives
Him his power; he lives
In a city of marvels and wonder.

The Marvel Comics character Black Panther first appeared in 1966, making him the first superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics. His fictional country of Wakanda is a technologically advanced state powered by the equally fictional metal vibranium, which also indirectly gives the Black Panther his superpowers (via a heart-shaped herb mutated by it). The depiction of Wakanda’s capital city of Birnin Zana in the 2018 film Black Panther was a turning point for Afrofuturist cinema.

When you plant a black pear, be aware:
It’s a chokeberry. (Berries? No fair!)
Its petals, though: they’re like
A pear’s, i.e. pear-like—
That’s why it’s so-named, if you care.

Chokeberries, which are native to North America but now also grown in Europe, come in three varieties: black, red, and (hybrid) purple. The black chokeberry, also known as black pear because of its flowers, has petals that are, of course, white.

Black pudding is food for a king:
These delectable sausages wring
All the best from the pig,
Though there’s always some prig
Who objects to the whole bloody thing.

The black slug isn’t always all black,
And I personally reckon it’s slack:
It moves slowly, not speedily,
Eats anything greedily,
And carries no shell on its back.

Arion ater, the European and large black slug or black arion, can grow up to six inches long, is omnivorous, and varies in colour from ivory white to brown to deep black, tending to darken further from the equator and with age.

A large black slug, gastropod traitor,
Saw another, and thought he would mate ’er;
She died. “Well, why waste
A good meal? Have a taste,
Eh—why not?” The black arion ate ’er.

Some slugs will eat other slugs, including their own species—and black slugs have been observed doing exactly that. Like other terrestrial slugs, they’re hermaphrodites, so the gendered pronouns here are a bit arbitrary. They’re also capable of self-fertilization, and are invasive in the US, Canada and Australia. Yeah, they can go fertilize themselves.

Black Widow, an ex-Russian-spy,
Has become an Avenger. That’s why
Her black suit is skintight
(In her movie, it’s white).
She’ll defeat you by drawing your eye.

Black Widow has a few more tricks up her sleeve than distracting lascivious foes, readers and viewers: she’s smart, quick to heal, a hypnotist, and a proficient martial artist. Since her first Marvel Comics appearance in 1964, she has teamed up with Hawkeye and Daredevil and been an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as a member of the Avengers. The character has also been prominent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, up to and including her eponymous 2021 movie.

One of Marvel’s first movies they made
That did well was the vampire film Blade.
The titular Snipes
Was a daywalker—cripes!—
Who’d put Vlad and Lestat in the shade.

The 1998 Wesley Snipes movie Blade kickstarted Marvel’s box-office dominance after a false start in the 1980s with Howard the Duck. The character, introduced in comics in 1973, is a half-human, half-vampire dhampir, with all of a vampire’s powers but none of their weaknesses (apart from the need to drink blood). Blade is a vampire hunter, fighting many fanged foes over the years, including Dracula himself. As far as I’m aware, he’s never tackled Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat de Lioncourt.

She was, “Blah blah blah, blah-blah de blah.”
I was, “Ha ha ha hardy ha ha!”
She was, “Hmmph! Grr grr GRRR!”
I was, “Yipe! Erm, uh, errr...”
She was, “Uh-uh. ‘Ha ha’? Huh. Ta-ta.”

As Bugs, Mr Blanc was just swell,
And as Tweety and Porky as well.
Now he’s gone, R.I.P.
“Th-th-thee-th-th-thee-
th-th-thee-th-that’s all, folks!” from Mel.

Fletcher Christian sent off William Bligh,
Without charts or a means of supply,
In a small open boat.
Forty-six days afloat!
But the blighter neglected to die.

“I’m your innermost fantasy—try me!
I’m your rocket to paradise—fly me!
I’m your secret desire—
I make temperatures higher!
I’m the night you’ve been waiting for!”      “Blimey.”

When he gave her a single red rose
And she suddenly, wordlessly, froze,
Blind Freddy could tell
That the outcome would smell.
Even blokes with bad eyes have a nose.

It’s blowing a blizzard out there;
It’s snowing and freezing the air.
The world’s turning white,
So it’s winter, all right.
Just a shame that I’m no polar bear.

You’re a blockhead, you are, Charlie Brown!
You’re the stupidest kid in our town.
When I’m holding the ball,
You repeatedly fall
For my trick, and you flip upside down.

—You’re a passable handyman, Prof,
But you knew that we had to block off
Just the window, that’s all?
—Yes, I did: there’s the wall.
—Well, you’ve blocked off the passageway! —Cough.

My blog is a site that’s been dogged
By each niggle and struggle that’s clogged
Up my chockablock brain;
Every link looks germane,
So I blog ’em and end up befogged.

A populist fan of the folkish
Behaviour of men known as blokeish
(Viz., blokey and laddish)
Has found that it’s faddish
To castigate critics as wokeish.

Many Aussies are known for their blokiness:
Their takin’-the-piss, boorish jokiness;
Sus views about women;
And manly tears brimmin’
At thoughts of their mates—oh, the hokeyness.

Poms can be blokey, too, but tend to refer to stereotypically male behaviour or attitudes as blokeishness.

My bruvver loves violence: he cuts
Through his foes with a kick to the nuts,
A few blows to the head
And some stab-wounds. Mum said,
“Our boy Nigel enjoys blood ’n’ guts.”

In the Offal Champs Cook-Off tonight,
The contestants won’t whimper—they’ll fight.
They’ll pummel each heart
And slice livers apart.
It’s a blood-and-guts battle, all right.

That blood blister under her thumb
Is a sign of how utterly dumb
Is my bloody big sister.
The door would have missed her,
But who had her hand stuck out? Um...

I awake from a terrible dream
To a hideous, blood-curdling scream.
“Oh my God! What was that?”
“It vos only a bat,”
Says Count Dracula, canines agleam.

You’re a valuable person ’round here;
You approach any task without fear.
You’re ideally equipped
To reside in my crypt:
Your blood is worth bottling, my dear.

This Australianism is usually directed at a loyal friend, a family member, or any other person who has made themselves valuable to you (“your blood’s worth bottling!”), but also gets used in the third-person to describe other valued members of society, such as firies or ambos. The extent of its usage in Transylvania is uncertain.

My buddy and I came to blows,
And I gave the dumb bloke a blood nose.
It bled and it bled
Down the front of his head,
Like a bloody arterial hose.

Aussie slang for a nosebleed, especially one caused by a blow to the snout.

Blood oranges make a fine juice
From flesh that’s deliciously puce.
I guzzle a flood,
’Cos it’s good for the blood,
Though it’s not like I need an excuse.

So, let’s write a piece on blood orange,
That bloody impossible rhyme.
Its flesh is blood-red,
But its surface is blue.
(Just kidding. It’s orange, of course.)

Reputations are easy to wreck—
One’s bad language it’s better to check.
So, although bloody ’ell
To an Aussie sounds swell,
Polite Pommies prefer bloomin’ ’eck.

If they really want to ramp things up, they might say flippin’ ’eck.

“You’re certain you want to buy both
Them soft toys: the baboon and the sloth?”
Jaxon answered, “Too right!
Helps me sleep good at night.”
“Mate, you’re sure about this?” “Bloody oath.”

Would an Aussie kid really say bloody oath to indicate total agreement? Too right—he might even use a stronger word than bloody, depending on what he thinks he can get away with. The pronunciation of sloth used here by Jaxon’s older relative was once commonplace in Australia, but has come under increasing pressure from the American rhyme with moth.

You’re a guest in our home, mate, a blow-in:
Turned up uninvited, not showin’
Due deference to those
Who were born here. I s’pose
You can do the odd job before goin’.

In Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Massachusetts, a blow-in is a newcomer to a place, regarded by grudging locals as an interloper. The term can be applied to city-dwellers moving to the countryside or vice versa, or to people from interstate, another region or another country. Blow-ins are considered ignorant of local ways and transient, although in time that can change; give it a few decades and see how you go.

The singer yelled, “Hey, man, that’s wack!”
As his mellowness started to crack.
“Brother, don’t blow your cool,”
Said his manager. “You’ll...”
Five percent? Man, I’m blowing my stack!”

At the wedding of Percy the Plover,
Cock Robin cried, “Stop it! I love her!
All’s not what it seems!
She’s the bird of my dreams!”
Cried Miss Blue Tit, “You’re blowing my cover!”

The tit had intended, of course, to take Percy for a ride.

“Make my afro a monster! Real big!
Take your hairdressing thingamajig
And tease every last strand!
Make the whole thing expand!”
“Hey, calm down, brother—don’t blow your wig.”

He gave his mate Kevin a nudge,
Saying, “Kev, I ain’t holdin’ a grudge,
But ten years on the dole?
Mate, it’s outta control.
Look, I’m sorry, but strewth, what a bludge.”

There isn’t a skill that you’ve mastered
(Except, I suppose, getting plastered).
You loaf ’round the house,
And you sponge off yer spouse:
Yer a bludger, ya pitiful bastard.

Had a blue; before anyone knew, he
Humped his bluey, and then he shot through. He
Took his dog, a blue heeler;
Feeling blue, called his sheila,
’n’ said, “Chloe, we’re through. Yeah, it’s Bluey.”

A blue in Australia is a fight or a row, while a bluey can be, among other things, a bundle of clothes and possessions (a swag; to hump one’s bluey is to take up life as a vagrant), a dark-coated Australian cattle dog (called a blue heeler), or the nickname of a redheaded bloke. To shoot through in Australia is to leave, usually to get away from someone or something.

If blue angels and devils now leap
Through blue heavens and over blue sheep,
And the sedative you
Took sedately was blue,
Amobarbital’s sent you to sleep.

Blue cheese has a strong, grown-up taste
I took years to acquire. What a waste!
Now I’m going full-tilt on
Gorgonzola and Stilton,
And will rectify Roquefort post-haste.

Them bluegrass performers sure quicken
Their pace with their pluckin’ and pickin’
When folks paddle by...
Ain’t got no idea why
It makes all o’ them city boys chicken.

Give us this day our daily bread, and deliverance from banjos.

No matter how widely I roam,
Seeing blue gums reminds me of home.
They’re the mightiest oaks
To Tasmanian blokes:
Our invaders of other folks’ loam.

Eucalyptus globulus, the floral emblem of Tasmania, has been planted worldwide, and is so abundant in California that some there mistake it for a native.

Cercopithecus mitis was blue.
What’s a monkey of “Least Concern” do
To get some respect?
I would loudly object
With a pyow or a hack, wouldn’t you?

The Old World blue monkey is a species of Least Concern, i.e. still plentiful in the wild and therefore not a focus of conservation efforts. It has several recognised subspecies, found across eastern and central Africa. Despite its name, it is not noticeably blue in colour, but mainly olive or grey. Male blue monkeys studied in Uganda were found to produce two distinct alarm calls: hacks to crowned eagles and pyows to leopards and a range of other disturbances.

Four continents boast a blue quail,
Which mostly refers to the male—
Not because he’s depressed,
But of how the bird’s dressed,
With blue feathers on breast, back or tail.

The three species known as blue quails are Synoicus adansonii, also known as the African blue quail; Synoicus chinensis, also known as the king, blue-breasted, Asian blue, button, painted, or Chinese painted quail (with some subspecies in Australia); and Callipepla squamata, also called the scaled or cottontop quail or scaled partridge, found in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. Here endeth the snail’s male quail tale.

The blue-tongue’s a scary-big skink.
Unlike snakes, it won’t kill you. I think.
You’ll see its blue tongue
When it’s hiding among
Weeds near drains, if it’s taking a drink.

If you find a big blue-tongue, don’t poke it;
Don’t pick up this lizard and stroke it.
Don’t tempt one to bite you—
The pain won’t delight you—
Nor feed your brown dog one and choke it.

Australia has half a dozen species of blue-tongues, large lizards of the genus Tiliqua. Unlike most Australian snakes, they aren’t venomous, although their bite can be painful. They’re an asset in gardens, where they eat snails, slugs and the occasional mouse. Most species grow up to a foot and a half long (35–50cm), and are stout enough that they’d choke a brown dog.

Blue-tongues or blue-tongued lizards aren’t commonly called blue-tongued skinks in Australia, because skinks are seen as little fellas.

The Tasmanian boots known as Blunnies
(For Blundstones) are rugged; what’s funny’s,
Like Uggs, they’re in fashion.
It’s a chance, then, for cashin’
In, on actors in Blunnies and sunnies.

The Hobart company Blundstone has been making work boots since 1870, and its ankle-high elastic-sided leather boots have long been staple Tasmanian and Australian footwear; Blundstone boots became Blundstones and, by the 1980s, Blunnies. As with Uggs (the sheepskin boots normally worn as slippers in Australia), celebrities in Blunnies and sunglasses (sunnies to Aussies) made the boots an international fashion item in the 1990s and 2000s.

Modern (Park) Life is Rubbish, but Leisure
Awaits: 13 albums to treasure
By Blur. What a trip!
Great Escape, Magic Whip,
Think Tank, Ballad of Darren: pure pleasure.

Blur’s nine studio albums from 1991 to 2023 (not thirteen, for some reason) are all hidden in this verse. Can you find them all, Girls and Boys? There’s No Other Way than to read it To the End. Seven of their albums were UK number ones, and they’ve had thirteen (not nine) Top Ten singles, including the “Battle of Britpop”-winning “Country House”. Their Universal appeal means that you’re sure to like a Song or 2.

BMX is the sporting sensation
That’s sweeping the youth of the nation!
It’s the motocross bike
That the teenagers like
Even more than they do mastur... ansit.

Oh, look, darling—what do you know!
It’s old what’s-his-name. Jolly good show!
And you just heard him shout...
Was it... “immigrants out”?
(He’s a BNP member. Let’s go.)

Some parties are better left.

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