Miss Day complains she never knows
why her boyfriend called her Wild Rose.
By any other name
she’d smell just the same
as her tissues begin to necrose.
Un printemps une grande hirondelle,
sauta de la tour Eiffel,
mais une fois dans l’air,
elle tomba sur terre,
car on lui avait coupé les ailes.
A swallow decided one spring
Eiffel tower was worth base-jumping.
Soon after the jump
it fell on its rump
for somebody had clipped its wing.
A young frau who swam Lake Brienz
was popular past all intents.
For the water was clear,
and without underwear,
she put on quite a show for the gents.
A two-to-one flag made a fuss
of an equal-sized flag with a plus.
It said, “I’m neutral,
but my diagonal
is your base, which are belong to us.”
Some pixels of fifty micrometers
two trackers and two calorimeters.
Eight magnets toroidal
and one solenoidal
surrounded by muon spectrometer.
Deep under soil Helvetic
are toroids electromagnetic
to confirm mc squared
makes particles (paired)
Converted from E that’s kinetic.
And now for a different detector:
If experiments had consciousness,
Just what do you think they’d confess?
“Well here under Cessy,
It’s all very messy.
Smashed hadrons and I CMS.”
Pour réussir au jeu de Jass,
on met les atouts et les as.
Mais il faut être vite
sur ce putain de site (excuse my French)
avant que les aut’ ne se cassent.
The catch with Niagara Falls,
is the cliché that always enthralls.
One must use Viagra,
to rhyme with Niag’ra,
And frankly I haven’t the balls.
The cards this week had photos of many places I’ve been to, and loved, and yet nothing came to mind to write about. Then I noticed that one of the cards was for a house in Limerick, a county which gave its name to a kind of poem. I decided to write limericks on as many of the other aces of spades as I could. This was quite a practical idea for my first ‘real’ week, since it meant I could easily ponder the limericks whenever I had a few spare moments, and dedicate larger blocks of free time to getting the apronyms site ready. I might put that up later tonight, or tomorrow night. A few features are still missing, but they’re not important, and can be added later.
The first card I managed to write for was the wild rose card from a deck of wildflowers of Canada. The limerick is a summary of the song ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow‘ by Nick Cave.
Next was the Eiffel Tower. It seemed much easier to find rhymes for the French name, Tour Eiffel, than for ‘Eiffel Tower’, so I wrote it in French. This is my first French limerick, and two-and-a-halfth French poem… the half is because I wrote a half-French, half-English translation (select the text on the linked page to see a few hidden notes) of Clément Marot’s ‘À une damoyselle malade‘ into the context of a sick computer. But back to the limerick. I’ve had it checked by a bilingual friend (thanks, Edwin!) and he verifies that it makes sense, rhymes, and is funny, so I’m quite happy with it. However, there’s no point having a good limerick that most of the people reading this can’t understand, so I wrote a rough translation, also a limerick.
The ace of spades from my ‘The Best of Switzerland’ pack featured Interlaken and Jungfrau. I love Interlaken, but didn’t get out of bed early enough to go up Jungfrau. So what made the biggest impression on me was the beautiful blue of Lake Brienz. Here’s a panoramic photo I took of it. So I wrote a limerick about Lake Brienz, with a ‘young frau’ in it to tie in better with the card.
A different Swiss souvenir deck showed a flag-thrower. At a loss for things to write about flag-throwing, I instead made reference to the fact that the Swiss flag is the only square national flag. I understand that flag etiquette dictates that flags displayed together should be the same size, and I’ve often pondered the implications of this for a square flag next to a flag of a more standard ratio such as 1:2 or 2:3. This limerick requires knowledge of Pythagoras’ theorem and a certain internet meme.
The card from my CERN 50th anniversary deck was about the ATLAS detector. I work for the CMS experiment so I had to do some research on this. I’m not entirely happy with it, as I could only find two relevant rhymes each ending in -ometer and -imeter, and I needed three. But this accurately describes the make-up of the detector, from the inside out.
Situated at point 1, just across the road from CERN’s Meyrin site, ATLAS is the only one of the four LHC experiments which is in Switzerland. The others are on the other side of the border, in France. Given that ‘Helvetic’ rhymes with ‘magnetic’ I had to take the opportunity to write a limerick about it. I’m not sure whether it’s the best or most accurate wording. I considered ‘as well as some E that’s kinetic’ for the last line, and also this ending:
For E on C squared
means particles (paired)
including some E that’s kinetic
What do you think? Do we have any physicists in the audience?
After that, I couldn’t resist writing a limerick about CMS as well, even though that card won’t turn up until later. The last line has two possible meanings, depending on where you put the comma, and how you pronounce it:
mashed hadrons and I, CMS
recalls ‘I, Robot‘ and implies that the experiment is conscious, whereas:
smashed hadrons, and I CMS
with ‘CMS’ pronounced, ‘see a mess’ refers to the previous few lines. I’m not certain who thought of it, but the CMS/see a mess joke is well-known at least amongst my friends in the CMS collaboration.
The card next to the next limerick is the ace of acorns, from a Swiss jass pack. Over the new year, I decided it was time I learnt Jass… described in the book ‘Ticking Along with the Swiss’ as, ‘a card game that is, and always will be, a complete mystery to any foreigner living in Switzerland’. I joined a website where a variety of jass can be played online. I soon became frustrated, because it’s a complicated game which requires much thinking, at least for me, but many experienced players get impatient and leave the game when anybody takes more than a few seconds to make a move. So the last limerick is a very brief summary of jass strategy, along with a warning to be quick or else the other players will leave. I haven’t managed to translate it in limerick form. Due to my admitted lack of expressive ability in that language, I filled three syllables with an expletive. However, I don’t mean any insult to the creators of or participants in the website. There are patient people there, you just need to find them, and make sure you put your cards on the table (so to speak) right at the beginning of the game, so they know the deal before the deal.
The card showing Niagara Falls bothered me all week. I wanted to write a limerick for it, but I felt sure that somebody out there, perhaps several people, must have already written limericks rhyming Niagara with Viagra. What with the usually ribald content of limericks, I felt people would be disappointed if I didn’t use these rhymes, and yet it would hardly be original if I did. Finally, barely an hour before posting this, I came up with a limerick describing this problem.
Please forgive the wonkiness of the images… I used a camera rather than a scanner, and it was in the evening so I had to use the flash, which meant taking the photo from an angle to avoid reflections. I might redo them later.