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Surprisingly, many of you are not as bilious as we had hoped. But Christmas should soon alter that.

Surprising, too, bearing in mind the large number of our American readers, that all but one of those who appear below are Brits. We few, we wretched few, we band of quietly seething Eeyores . . .


A Rotten Sport

At a school I shall not name, Rugby Football was the game,
Played on muddy fields no matter what the weather.
The experience was dire; we would slither in the mire
In pursuit of that moronic bit of leather.

Though the playing fields were ours for a few sadistic hours,
Local farming was their usual vocation;
Full of cows forever lowing (for they saved the cost of mowing),
Every field was fouled with bovine defecation.

Those interminable scrums where a pair of massive bums
Squashed my head and cut my ears to bloody ribbons;
It was evident that Rugger’s just a game for silly buggers
Who enjoy cavorting like a troop of gibbons.

So I lost all taste for sports; I would rather nibble warts
Or disarm an unexploded ticking bomb
Than observe those monkeys play, or be forced to join the fray
In a nightmare reminiscent of the Somme.

Brian Allgar


Paying "Homage"

Rhyme it with porage,
not Nigel Farage.

Rhyme it with him
et, mon Dieu, ça m'enrage.

Say it in English
but, please, not in French.

Hommage” comme en France
makes my buttocks both clench.

 Leo Vincent


The Cursed Noel

The ads kick in pre-Halloween
To flash for months from every screen
So Christmas, crassly elongated,
Ends up with half its charm abated.

What brain-power spent on snaring tots,
Grandparents, gluttons, geeks and sots!
What media peace-and-goodwill puffing,
That annual cloak for gullet-stuffing!

Our winters bring sufficient trials
Without a dash down crowded aisles
Force-fed the nauseating foolery
Of products wrapped in bogus Yulery.

To keep the huckster’s hype in check,
In malls and halls let’s cry, ‘Undeck!
Bring on a Cromwell, some new Ollie,
To banish mistletoe and holly!’

 Jerome Betts


When we sit down with drink in hand to watch the nightly news,
The advert persons want us all to know which drug to choose
Should we perhaps have flu or some deplorable affliction,
And so they hawk their compounds, but there is a big restriction:

You see, by law they have to tell of any side effects
That might impact our way of life, our bodies, or our sex.
So after blatant puffery, they quietly reflect
On gruesome things that could occur. By then my evening’s wrecked.

We watch as actors swim or dance or stroll with smiling faces;
Yet hear of strokes and blood clots, and decay of private places.
Our livers could disintegrate; we may get palpitations;
And as the voice drones on, we learn yet other aberrations.

It scares the hair from off my head, the skin from off my cuticles,
To hear them list the dangers of their wondrous pharmaceuticals.
The news itself is bad enough; why can’t these revelations
Take place another time and spot? We’re not their bloody patients!

Mae Scanlan


Bile With a Smile

Let's not play the blame game,
Poets must be friends,
When one sees a mate's name
That's when one pretends.

Failings are not mentioned,
Errors are ignored,
I am well-intentioned
But I know he scored

First by plagiarising,
Then by-passing rules
With astute disguising.
Judges can be fools!

Me, I am no sinner,
I'm not like the rest:
Though it's not a winner
I still know mine's best.

Gillian Ewing