Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


From my vantage point, M82
Is a smokin’ hot galaxy; you
Might consider it wacko,
Like rolled-up tobacco—
Cigar-shaped, from Earth’s side-on view.

M82, the Cigar Galaxy, is a starburst galaxy—one with an exceptional rate of star formation—located in the region of Ursa Major in the northern night sky. Long classified as irregular, observations in 2005 revealed it to be a disc galaxy visible to us from its side.

The ciliary ganglion sits
At the back of the eye-socket—it’s
Like a relay that serves
Eyeball muscular nerves
And some other misc. optical bits.

What to frame, and how much to expose;
Which particular sets to disclose;
When to pan or to zoom
To make sense of a room:
What a cinematographer knows.

A circle is perfectly round,
With no corner or break to be found:
As a consequence, great
As a shape for a plate—
Makes ’em easy to roll on the ground.

All the words that we prefix with “circum-”
Have a round/about, what is it, quirk, um,
In meaning, that is,
To be circum- — gee whiz! —
Is it “locutory”? (See why I shirk ’em?)

A citadel sits on a rock
In our city. Our citizens flock
To its fortified walls
When an enemy calls:
Its attackers are in for a shock.

Of the citadels (only the real
Ones, not Lord of the Rings ones), I feel
That the best one of all’s
Got pentagonal walls,
In the citadelled city of Lille.

The pentagonal citadel in Lille, France, known as the Queen of the Citadels, was built between 1667 and 1670 after Louis XIV seized Lille from Spain (it was formerly part of the Spanish Netherlands). Other citadelled cities and towns can be found across Europe and the Middle East.

Citharoedical music’s antique.
Of cithara players I speak:
Plucky citharists played
Lute-like instruments made
Back in Ancient times, Roman and Greek.

Of the various words derived from this ancient instrument, the adjectives citharistic and citharoedic(al) relate to the instrument and to its players respectively. To perform on the cithara was to citharize.

The citizen’s role is to vote,
To sing anthems from first to last note,
And to carry out deeds
The community needs,
Though the odds of all that are remote.

Like some user-made content to read? Ya
Should try stuff beyond Wikipedia,
Like blog posts, reviews,
Even limericks and news:
Try the people’s own citizen media.

Citizen media, or participatory media, predated the Internet in such forms as zines, community radio and public access television, but has flourished online, giving everyday people the ability to report news and write commentary independently of established media outlets. It goes beyond the written word, encompassing the use of video and audio on YouTube, in podcasts, and more.

If your lab has an under-suppliance
Of scientists, citizen science
Can provide you with many
More colleagues than any
Recruiter: a public alliance.

Citizen science is scientific work undertaken by members of the public, usually in collaboration with professionals: for example, reporting wildlife sightings, measuring rainfall, or helping analyse large astronomical or genetic datasets as part of an open, distributed effort online.

We are French revolutionaries! We’re
Equal citizens now. If you care
About liberty, then
Is the way we’ll address you, mon cher.

These French terms for male and female citizens have made their way into English, chiefly via accounts of life in historical and contemporary France. During the Revolution they were used as forms of address.

Zesting lemons gives... what? Can you tell?
Once called citronyl (citrene, as well
As d-limonene, now),
This essential oil’s how
You give icing that citrusy smell.

Life in a really big city
Is urban and streetwise and gritty;
You’re never quite sure
If a mugging’s in store,
But at least the reporters are witty.

Bus hit Ernie Schmidt on his journey
To work—ended up on a gurney.
His legal advice
To the council: play nice
And pay up. (He’s the city attorney.)

A city bike sits in a rack
On my street—such a pity I lack
The resources to hire it.
Oh, how I desire it!
I’d ride to the shops and then back.

An urban environment’s sights
In the daytime are great, but the nights,
Oh, the nights are the best:
Theatre, bars and the rest—
City lights are the stuff that excites.

The eyes of its freshers are gleaming,
The faces of graduates, beaming,
As the life of each don
Here in Oxford goes on:
This city inspires much dreaming.

The streets in our city all ran
North to south. It was thanks to one man:
Planner “Parallel” Pete.
“Hey, I think it looks neat.
East to west wasn’t part of my plan.”

Civil righters defend civil rights
And wronged people by spending their nights
And their days on their beat
Of the streets to defeat
Unjust laws, fighting difficult fights.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease kills the brain
By destroying its nerve cells; complain
Of dementia, and you
Could have CJD too!
Either that, or you’re simply insane.

CKD, chronic kidney disease,
Brings a sufferer lifelong unease.
“Will my kidneys give out?”
Is the nub of his doubt,
Brought to mind every time that he pees.

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