My One Kids’ Poem

May 6, 2006

This is not literally my only children's poem, but it is the only one worth reading. Wouldn't you know it… in the poem, I attempt to teach something about our language.


There is one more cookie there:
Shouldn't he or should he?
Johnny's mother says: FORBEAR,
Do not eat the goodie!

Johnny makes his FOREBEARS glad,
Does just what they say;
Wants to be a decent lad,
When they say, "obey."

Grandma gives the sternest rule:
"Who has cookies, shares,"
Says, "if you're a bad boy, you'll
Be eaten by FOUR BEARS!"

Every now and then, though, John
Steals the sweets, in pairs,
Takes two cookies, not just one,
To the zoo… FOR BEARS!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

Copyright © 1996 Stephen S. Bates


Pair o’ Dactyls For Two Kinds Of Flutes

April 13, 2006

Fipple Flute Frenzy

Diridi, diridi,
Georg Philipp Telemann,
Fond of the outer ex-
tremes of the flute,

Scribbled his passagework
That it is awkward is
Not in dispute!

Double Dactyl for Flute sans Basse

Flattement battement,
Jacques-Martin Hotteterre,
Gave us the word on the
Flute that's transverse:

Trying to fathom it
Leads one to bleak despair:
Everyone's curse!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

Copyright © 1996 Stephen S. Bates

A Nip For Critters

March 27, 2006

At the American Chemical Society 2001 annual meeting, this year in Chicago, researchers reveal that catnip is more effective than the most powerful chemical mosquito repellents, including even DEET…

Just A Wee Nip

A mosquito's not a kitty,
And it isn't very pretty;
It will suck your blood and make you scratch your itch.
It is very apt to bite us,
Giving some encephalitis
There's a horde near you; just check the nearest ditch.

As a food source they admire us,
And they carry West Nile virus;
A mosquito's something one can scarcely take.
Now at last, around our campfires,
One can shoo the bloody vampires…
Little Draculas, at last, have met their stake!

And a cat is no mosquito;
Fact is, most think cats are neat-o.
Still, the nicest kit may slash you with its claws.
Now at last we've found a beauty;
Catnip does a double duty:
Wards off skeeters; gives the feisty kitties pause.

As a food source they may style us;
Whining, rubbing, they'll beguile us,
But there's nothing quite as soft as kitty's fur;
And from San Jose to Yonkers,
Give 'em catnip, they'll go bonkers;
When they're done, they may reward you with a purr.

Want a mouser, not a skeeter?
Puss will love you if you greet her
Covered head-to-foot with catnip; she'll go bats.
Then, if critters chomp your finger,
They're no skeeters; they won't linger…
You can fairly well be certain it's your cats!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(August 2001)

Copyright © 2001 Stephen S. Bates

Douglas Adams Passes Away

March 27, 2006

May 21, 2001 – I have just learned that Douglas Adams died ten days ago, of a heart attack, at a distressingly young age (particularly distressing to one who is just past that age). The service for Adams involved music ranging from the Bach Schuebler Chorales to several Beatles songs including, appropriately enough, "Paperback Writer."

Do Not Dirk Gently
Into That Good Night

In Heaven, hear the laughter roll;
No Long Dark Tea-Time of your soul.
Though surely mad, and often manic,
You gave sage advice: Don't Panic.

To us whose laughter needs a Guide,
Your service cannot be denied.
O master of the grand absurd,
So Long, and Thanks for… every word.

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(May 2001)

Copyright © 2001 Stephen S. Bates

Coffee For The Snobby

March 27, 2006

In March, 2001, Starbucks stockholders enjoyed their fourth stock split since the company went public in 1992, while nearby protesters faulted the corporation for everything except what's really wrong…

Grounds for Complaint

Take the lowly beverage, coffee;
Turn it into something stoffee.
Drinking same is now no hobby;
Connoisseurs are more than snobby.
They perceive their bounden duty:
Sipping brew, then acting snooty.

Yesterday, martinis, jazz scenes;
Now, sophisticated has-beans
Seek the flavor ever finer,
Praise their favorite designer.
Never more does life depress, O
Reader, one who KNOWS espresso.

Will they strip my golden filter
If I say what's out of kilter?
Those as rich as Daddy Warbucks,
Fawning, frothing over Starbucks.
Wealth's like coffee: drip or boil it;
Soon enough… it's down the toilet!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(March 2001)

Copyright © 2001 Stephen S. Bates

(Thanks to L.J. for the beans from which this was brewed. I am fond of Starbucks coffee, and as corporations go, they're really not so bad. – SB)

Ending Hunger, One Driver At A Time

March 27, 2006

On my morning walk, around 9:30, I saw a truck from the End Hunger Network pull in the drive space between a Shipley Donuts and a King of Pizza. I guess the driver was on some sort of…


Took a job where I could get work,
Driving for this do-good Network;
Here's my thought (I'll write no tome):
Charity begins at home.

Breakfast was a while ago;
Body's gotta eat, y'know.
Day's not getting any younger…
Guess I'll stop and End some Hunger!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(March 2001)

Copyright © 2001 Stephen S. Bates

Look Who Is Suing Whom

March 27, 2006

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Several asbestos companies have joined
together to file lawsuits against the tobacco giants, seeking
reimbursement for past claims by sick workers and settlement
awards to smokers exposed to asbestos. …"

Where There's Smoke, There's Cancer,
Asbestos I Can Tell

There's a controversy in the air
   that's making people sick:
Is it drawing in asbestos,
   or a little burning stick?
Now the parties take their fight to court,
   and both of 'em are seething;
They are spitting flame and kicking dust…
   I'm having trouble breathing.

Hear tobacco: they're concerned
   for each asbestos worker's health;
If he's sick, it isn't cigarettes,
   it's surely something ealth.
Never mind if he's a smoker,
   or a serious imbiber,
They're concerned about his diet…
   is he getting any fiber?

Hear asbestos: they're unjustly drained,
   and feeling rather stung.
They will shout about it…
   if it's on the lung, it's on the tongue.
Deeply certain of their innocence,
   they're sure they're getting soaked…
If a worker gets a cancer,
   it was something that he smoked.

Now asbestos sues tobacco,
   and it isn't any joke,
For the former's dream of profits
   may be going up in smoke.
See the lawyers lining up to push
   a case that tests their mettle…
And I understand next Saturday
   the pot will sue the kettle.

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(February 2001)

Copyright © 2001 Stephen S. Bates


Edward Gorey Dies

March 27, 2006

"To take my work seriously would be the height of folly." – Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey, master of grim little verses and drawings, dies of a heart attack at age 75. I, and others who do what I do, mourn the loss of our role model…

Tombeau de Gorey

Curtains now for Edward Gorey,
Bard of grinning, grisly story,
Master, too, of morbid drawing
(Nervous laughter, no guffawing);
Wail or sigh, but none may yawn:
Edward Gorey, dead and gone!

He who wrote of falls down stairs,
Poisonings and jaws of bears,
Skulls that split, and broken backs,
Felled… by simple heart attacks.
Of young children, fond entomber…
He, himself, now graveyard humor.

Verse macabre and more he'd pen:
Sketches all Ed-weird-ian,
Animated Mystery;
Sad to say, he's history.
Now I lift my glass in token:
Here's to Edward… all heartbroken.

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(April 2000)

Copyright © 2000 Stephen S. Bates


Both Ends Against The Middle

March 25, 2006

Unilever, on 4/10/2000, bought both Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and SlimFast diet drink. Talk about "enabling" at both ends of the diet cycle…


Scoop a heap, and top with cherries,
Gorge yourself on Ben and Jerry's.
Soon, you're overwhelmed with guilt:
On your favorite shirt it's spilt;
Even worse, you're feeling fat…
Come now, we'll have none of that!
Now embark upon a grim fast,
Water? nah… let's make it SlimFast.
Soon you're feeling fit and trim,
Out for ice cream, on a whim.
Up or down, you self-deceiver,
Who's your dealer? Unilever!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(April 2000)

Copyright © 2000 Stephen S. Bates

Trees – Loving Them To Pieces

March 25, 2006

You have all no doubt read passionate debates on the moral dimensions of giving your kids toy guns. Today I witnessed a moral equivalent, and all the same questions passed through my mind: I was walking in the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (one of my favorite spots on the planet) when I encountered a woman with two young boys, each wearing a plastic helmet and each carrying… I am not making this up… a plastic toy CHAINSAW! Hence the following new movie:

The Texas Chainsaw Toy Story

George Washington, the story goes
(As myths go, few can match it)
Did fell a tree with mighty blows
To test his brand new hatchet.

The tale says Georgie told no lie,
Confessing to his deed.
And neither, my good friends, do I:
I says just what I seed!

These kiddies walk the woods with Mom,
They put no tent or hut up;
They bear no arms, they throw no bomb,
But they’re equipped to cut up!

“No guns,” their mother states her rule:
“However much you hate your
Annoying classmates in your school…
Unleash that hate on Nature!”

Of good advice, Mom has no lack
For laddies such as these:
“Say no to guns; say no to crack…
Say yes to whacking trees.”

I know which way this thing will run
(Though I am not omniscient):
Someday, they’ll hack like Washington…
Though vastly more efficient!

– The Yellow Doggerelist

(November 1999)

Copyright © 1999 Stephen S. Bates