Members and Their Lordships squabble
As each pleads his Party’s cause
In this neogothic palace
Where they frame the Nation’s laws.
Plain stability in Portland,
Where the worthier are knighted
And prime ministers are made.
Early home of Queen Victoria
Near the statue of that boy
Who, through Barrie’s childhood magic,
Hooked a generation’s joy.
Tudor palace where the envoys
Yield Credentials to the Queen,
Dedicated to John’s brother,
By a park that’s always Green.
Where the Canterbury Prelate
Takes his Walk Down Lambeth Way
Just like other folk are Doing
Any evening, Any day.
Vanbrugh’s Italy by Oxford
Who should wear the Spanish crown?
Churchill fought and won a Dukedom
At a small Bavarian town.
Dorothy and Lion and Scarecrow
On the bricked and yellow road,
Only found a bogus wizard
From whom seeming magic flowed.
Gold and fluorine both are yellow
In their elemental state,
And in Column Five three members
Show the same chromatic trait.
On the roadside there are painted
Warning double yellow lines –
Park there and the law may levy
Punitive deterrent fines.
National Park in North Wyoming
Full of geysers and hot springs;
Nature comes to equilibrium
With the junk the tourist brings.
Yellowknife has one attraction:
Gold for those who delve and take.
Is this why it’s situated
By that frozen Great Slave Lake?
Card and streak and Rose of Texas,
Hammer, jersey, fever, bile,
Flag and spot and sea and pages ,
Relished by each xanthophile.
As men of Pisa often shirk
When they are not too fond of work,
A clock was placed upon their Tower
So all could plainly see the hour –
Now as the hands make slow rotation
They have both time and inclination.
Two orange poppies
With a smaller one that’s white
Between two pavings.
Why are they never damaged
By the tyres of shiny B.M.W.
Or by the super-fashionable high-heeled
Shoes of the driver.
Whoever planned the Universe
Decided it should be
A place complexities could form
Perhaps like you and me.
The speed of light, electron’s mass
Were fixed at values so
The stars and galaxies were born
And life itself could grow.
It may, some think, have formed by chance,
Quite how they do not say,
But why is it fine-tuned for life
If it was formed that way?
A1 Tory, Mrs Thatcher,
Corner shop and Grantham bred,
Oxford trained to be a chemist
But became P.M. instead.
Teddy Heath had been the Leader,
On perhaps an ebbing tide,
So thought men in blue surroundings
P’r’aps a woman could be tried.
Privatising all and sundry,
‘Victor’ of the miners’ strike
With a Minister suggesting
Jumping on your unused bike.
Margaret Hilda, thrice successful,
Cast off by the rank and file,
Sent Upstairs to be a Lady
Though this rather cramped her style
Decorated with the Garter;
Kesteven was the domain
Of this overblooming woman
With her very active brain.
Where the thought of Mrs Perkins
Brought to Walter’s eye a tear;
Where the country folk play cribbage
As they sup their Wessex beer.
From a fifty-scoring circle
Sykes’s dog received his name,
Like a piebald sphere of sweetmeat
Nominally just the same.
John personifying England
Edict drawn up by the Pope,
Military spit and polish,
Phase which gives investors hope.
A la plaza de los torros,
A la sombre o al sol
Matador, traje luces –
Beast for whom no bell will toll
ONE TWO THREE FOUR
Squaring does not change its value;
Special on the Mobius strip;
Number of true loves permitted;
Locks that any good key will fit.
Only prime that’s also even;
Squared and doubled are the same;
Misspelt it is also also;
10 that has another name.
Bears who were deprived of porridge;
Musketeers and p’r’aps a crowd;
Leafage of a normal clover;
Cheers of which one might feel proud.
Horsemen who were seen on Patmos;
Brillig, double florin, groat,
Butane, independence, seasons,
April, march time , Bolingbroke.
On a grassy Sussex hillside,
With each virtue but a clone,
Anglo-Saxons and the Normans
Fight to hold or win a throne.
Way above the Southern Counties
Hurricane or Messerschmitt
Slaughter so that it’s decided
If Great Britain will submit.
Moneycrats as five star generals
Policies make interests yield –
Yes, there will be dead and hungry
But without a battle field.
She has doubtless read Endymion
And the odes of Horace too;
Algorithms never irk her
For her legs are clothed in blue.
This is not a glass container
Holding wine or come what may;
It’s the only type of bottle
Which will ever fly away.
When through Vienna Woods it sparkled
Waltzing words were Danube true
Gadgets, fripperies and travel
Mean it’s no longer blue.
Marriage for this bearded monster
Always ended in despair,
Since he drowned successive partners,
Ugly, passable or fair.
Sheep and cows are idly straying
In the meadow and the corn –
One might re-establish order
If that boy would blow his horn.
Thicker glass within a prism
Darkens white light into blue.
Newton, nineteen centuries later,
Quickly showed this wasn’t true.
Sapphire, bluejohn, gorgonzola,
Oxbridge, Lionel, badge and moon,
Peter, collar, blood and Tory,
Murder, ribbon and Lagoon.
The gas once called acetylene
Has which more modern name?
Which gas burns with a sort of squeak
When near a Bunsen flame.
Which gas evolved from smelling salts
Turns litmus paper blue?
Which gas elates, and so it’s said,
Induces laughter too.
Which triatomic ‘seaside gas’,
If levels were to fall,
Might not protect us from those rays
Which could destroy us all.
Which haemoglobin-seeking gas
Requires especial care ….
It’s formed when fossil fuels are burnt
With insufficient air.
Which gas when pumped into the air
Returns as acid rain;
The Pennine Hills were wooded once,
But bare they now remain.
Which is the main constituent
Of gases we exhale?
Which gas may fracking soon release
From layers of buried shale?
In sunlight there are spectral lines
Which gave this gas its name,
And now it’s used to fill balloons
Lest they burst into flame.
‘On the Lupercal,’ schemed Caesar,
‘I won’t seek out kingship yet …
I will thrice refuse the offer
So it seems I’m hard to get.’
‘Cassius,’ thought wily Caesar,
‘Bears a lean and hungry look;
Give me men who love their comforts,
Men that I can bring to book.’
‘Ah, Calpurnia,’ smiled Caesar,
‘We’re a noble Roman pair …
Hodie Rex Romanorum …
You shall be Queen, My Dear.’
‘Signs and portents presage danger;
Tell the Senate he is sick.’
‘Caesar is above suspicion …
He would never play a trick!’
‘Caesar,’ cried Artemidorus,
‘On this paper are the names
Of such men who would destroy you …
All but one with selfish aims.’
‘Et tu Brute,’ whispered Caesar,
‘What betrayal friendship hides;
Augurers forbade me venture
From my house upon the Ides.’