Definitely Limericks by Rory Ewins


On the smooth and enticing—not horrid—
Glabellar spot right on her forehead,
A singular curl
Twixt the brows of his girl
Promised Longfellow nights long and torrid.

Henry really should stop paying so much attention to girls’ glabellae.

The names of glam rock legends litter
The ’70s charts. One big-hitter
Was Bolan, who made
A pop platform for Slade,
Alvin Stardust, Mud, Sweet, and G. Glitter.

The pestiferous stuff we call glitter
Is a hard-to-remove form of litter.
In seas, microplastic
Is far from fantastic
In the innards of many a critter.

Our globalized world has been made
By migration, increasing free trade,
And cultural sharing.
It seems we’ve stopped caring;
Will globalization now fade?

In the past, we’d fight wars over land;
Conquer those we could not understand;
We would rape and we’d pillage.
Now we’re one global village,
Side-by-side in our brotherly band.

Marshall McLuhan’s 1960s term for a world bound together by media came to encompass the many ways in which people and countries became increasingly interconnected as the world globalized. The world, we imagined, would be as one. For a brief moment in the 1990s, it even seemed possible to believe it.

In this dictionary entry of mine,
I have gloss meaning “lustre or shine”.
In the margins, a gloss
Will help those at a loss—
You thought “phony appearance”? That’s fine.

The sense of gloss as shiny surface soon led to figurative senses of superficiality and falseness. A gloss is also a word inserted in the margins or between lines to explain a more difficult word, or the explanation given for a word in a dictionary or glossary. This note is a gloss gloss.

My Great-Aunt Glacinda grew faint
At the glimpse of a door with gloss paint.
“My dear Matt, it’s too shiny!”
Oh mate, she’s so whiny:
The Trump Tower lobby it ain’t.

In the East End of London, a loʻll
Have accents whose t sound is gloʻal.
My Whitechapel daughter
Drinks waʻer, not water,
From a meʻal-walled half-liʻre boʻle.

Glottal relates to the glottis, the bit of your throat that closes when you swallow. The glottal stop, represented in Polynesian languages by a character similar to a left single quotation mark (ʻ) and in Squamish by the character ʔ, is also a feature of Arabic, Malay, and especially... English. It isn’t just in accents like Cockney, either; if you don’t voice a clear t in the word network, you’re using it too. Uh-oh.

There are things we were not meant to know!
Our design’s for the LORD to bestow.
Do not tinker with life!
We shall bring nought but strife
If we gene-splice! Begone, GMO!

The geneticist calmly explains,
“Our design has bestowed us with brains
And the means to create.
Wouldst thou modify fate,
That has shown us these limitless plains?”

“What’s GNU?” queried Linus, confused.
“GNU’s not Unix!” said Richard, enthused.
“So what is it?” asked Linus.
“Let not closed source confine us!”
“I’ll just build my own OS,” Linus mused.

GNU (pronounced like the animal), a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix!”, is a freely licensed collection of software based on the (closed-source) Unix operating system and other Unix software. As the GNU operating system kernel isn’t production-ready, GNU software is often used with the Linux kernel. This combination is commonly known as Linux or GNU/Linux: Linux founder Linus Torvalds favours the former, while GNU founder Richard Stallman favours the latter.

The fictional Linus here uses the coder’s pronunciation of “oss” for OS.

To New Zealanders, Godzone is home:
God’s own country of bountiful loam,
A magnificent sweep
Of volcanoes and sheep.
Heaven knows why a Kiwi would roam.

Over 40% of New Zealand’s 4.9 million people declared themselves non-religious at the 2018 census, making Godzone one of the least religious countries in the developed world. Almost 90% of its population live in urban areas, and over half a million New Zealanders live overseas.

It’s a golden age. Everything’s good.
Our society works as it should.
Life is peaceful and rich.
It’s one son-of-a-bitch
Of a dream: wish it had been, or could.

When chancing the waters of Venice,
Avoid gondoliers such as Denis.
He’s managed to fondle a
Few in his gondola:
His fancy canal boat’s a menace.

This verse you are reading is good.
Could it be even better? It could
-n’t. (Apart from that there
Enjambed line ending, where
Most would have a full stop, and I should.)

Have a look at this word that I’ve gotten.
The British now reckon it’s rotten,
But Aussies and Yanks
Are still fond of it, thanks.
We’ve still got gotten’s back, not forgotten.

A government minister heads
A department, and constantly dreads
Messing up, losing face
And some voters, in case
The prime minister tears him to shreds.

Or her—ministerial woes are equal-opportunity.

A government of national unity:
The Commons’ last-ditch opportunity
To end Brexit deadlock
And put in a headlock
A leader who acts with impunity.

In the final weeks of the UK’s notification period under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is maintaining that he will not ask for any further extension of that period, despite being compelled to do so by the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (or “Benn Act”) if no withdrawal agreement is concluded by 19 October 2019. Johnson’s suggestion that he might ignore or circumvent this law in order to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019 has prompted discussions among opposition parties of the House of Commons of replacing his minority government with a government of national unity, which would then request the EU to extend Article 50 for a third time.

Here the gouverneur général comes;
En malgache et français, the man hums
As he munches red fruit,
Till an aide aims a boot
That lands right in the governor’s plums.

L’assistant est un insurgé! After Queen Ranavalona III signed a treaty making Madagascar a French protectorate in 1885, France seized the capital in 1895 and made the island a colony in 1897, ushering in fifteen years of insurgency which left 100,000 dead. The end of French rule was more peaceful, with the République malgache being established within the French Community in 1958 and gaining its full independence in 1960.

Flacourtia indica, known commonly as governor or governor’s plum, Madagascar plum, Indian plum, ramontchi and batoko palm, is a small shrubby tree cultivated in tropical regions as a hedge plant and for its deep red acid fruits resembling small plums. Its fruit are sweet and sour, with a texture and flavor similar to a plum.

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