Poems and songs

The Element Song by Tom Lehrer

There’s antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium,
And hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium
And nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium,
And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,
Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium
And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium
And gold, protactinium and indium and gallium
And iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium.

There’s yttrium, ytterbium, actinium, rubidium
And boron, gadolinium, niobium, iridium
And strontium and silicon and silver and samarium,
And bismuth, bromine, lithium, beryllium and barium.

There’s holmium and helium and hafnium and erbium
And phosphorus and francium and fluorine and terbium
And manganese and mercury, molybdenum, magnesium,
Dysprosium and scandium and cerium and cesium
And lead, praseodymium, and platinum, plutonium,
Palladium, promethium, potassium, polonium, and
Tantalum, technetium, titanium, tellurium,
And cadmium and calcium and chromium and curium.

There’s sulfur, californium and fermium, berkelium
And also mendelevium, einsteinium and nobelium
And argon, krypton, neon, radon, xenon, zinc and rhodium
And chlorine, carbon, cobalt, copper,
Tungsten, tin and sodium.

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Harvard,
And there may be many others, but they haven’t been discovered.

The Cockney alphabet

A for ‘orses (hay for horses)

B for mutton (beef or mutton)

C for miles

D for ‘ential (deferential)

E for Adam (Eve or Adam)

F for ‘vescence (effervescence)

G for police (chief of police)

H for respect (age for respect)

I for Novello (Ivor Novello)

J for oranges (Jaffa oranges)

K for restaurant (cafe or restaurant)

L for leather (hell for leather)

M for ‘sis (emphasis)

N for ‘adig (in for a dig, or infra dig.)

O for the garden wall (over the garden wall)

P for a penny (pee for a penny)

Q for a song (cue for a song)

R for mo’ (half a mo’)

S for you (it’s for you)

T for two (tea for two)

U for me (you for me)

V for La France (vive la France)

W for a bob (double you for a bob)

X for breakfast (eggs for breakfast)

Y for Gawd’s sake (why, for God’s sake)

Z for breezes (zephyr breezes)

The Busdriver’s Prayer

Our Farnham, who art in Hendon,
Harrow be Thy name.
Thy Kingston come; thy Wimbledon,
In Erith as it is in Hendon.
Give us this day our daily Brent
And forgive us our Westminster
As we forgive those who Westminster against us.
And lead us not into Thames Ditton
But deliver us from Yeovil.
For Thine is the Kingston, the Purley and the Crawley,
For Iver and Iver.
Crouch End.

The Chaos

[by Gerard Nolst Trenité]


I take it you already know

Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word

That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead—

For goodness sake don’t call it deed!

Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,

And then there’s dose and rose and lose —
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart —
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!

A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five!