Poppy, scarlet, fantastic extravagance,
Damask rose, brilliant complexion;
Camellia, red, unpretending excellence,
Japan rose, beauty is your only attraction.
Mistletoe, I surmount difficulties,
Rose, daily, thy smile I aspire to;
Citron, ill-natured beauty,
Mulberry tree, I shall not survive you.
Sorrel, wild, wit ill-timed,
Butterfly weed, let me go;
Hundred-leaved rose, dignity of mind,
Cistus, gum, I shall die tomorrow.
American starwort, cheerfulness in old age,
Locust tree, green, affection beyond the grave.

(Flower meanings from Collier’s Cyclopedia, 1882)

Ode to Odd

Of the second international workshop
on nude mice. People who don’t know they’re dead.
Weeds in a changing world – British crop
protection council. Start with your legs.

How to avoid huge ships. Bombproof your horse.
Developments in dairy cow breeding.
How to shit in the woods. Too naked for
the Nazis. Versailles – the view from Sweden.

The joy of sex – pocket edition. World
outlook for containers of fromage frais.
How to poo on a date. Reusing old
graves. Dental practice – the Genghis Khan way.

Introducing the Medieval ass.
A dog pissing at the edge of a path.

(Winners of the Booksellers/Diagram prize for the oddest title of the year)

Feed the brute

Advice on Marriage to Young Ladies:
do not marry at all but if you must
avoid the Beauty Men, Flirts and Bounders,
Tailors Dummies and Football Enthusiasts.

Look for a Strong, Tame Man, a Fire-lighter,
Coal-getter, Window Cleaner and Yard Swiller.
Don’t expect too much, most men are lazy,
selfish, thoughtless, lying, drunken, clumsy,

heavy-footed, rough, unmanly brutes,
and need taming. All Bachelors are
and many are worse still. If you want him
to be happy, Feed the Brute. The same

remark applies to dogs. You will be wiser
not to chance it, it isn’t worth the risk.

(Suffragette marriage advice from Pontypridd Museum, via History Hit)

A modern gentleman

Carries house guests’ luggage to their rooms, breaks
a relationship face to face
has read ​Pride and Prejudice, demonstrates
that making love is neither a race
nor a competition. Never lets a door
slam in someone’s face, is unafraid
to speak the truth, arrives five minutes before,
possesses at least one dark suit, well-made.
Can undo a bra with one hand, has two
tricks to entertain children, can prepare
a bonfire, says his name when introduced,
cooks an omelette to die for. Knows that there
is always an exception to a rule;
avoids lilac socks, polishes his shoes.

(From Revealed: The 39 steps to being a modern gentleman)

Road Atlas

Austin, Waco, West, San Antonio
Carlsbad, Aztec, Shiprock, Tucumcari
Laredo, Lubbock, Winnie, Amarillo
Cortez, Santa Fe, Vail, Mesa Verde
Dime Box, Bellville, Waxahatchie, Reno
Abilene, Dalhart, Nogales, Yuma
Houston, Dallas, Kayenta, El Paso
Mexican Hat, Show Low, Heber, Ozona
Jerome, Sedona, Grants, Truckee, Tahoe
Chinle, Tuba City, Prescott, Parker
San Jose, Monterrey, Palm Springs, Pueblo
Boulder, Tucson, Flagstaff, Port Arthur
Texas, New Mexico, and then Arizona
Colorado, Utah, on to California

(Places in the National Geographic Road Atlas 2001: USA, Canada, Mexico, Deluxe ed. Submitted by James Brush)

You just can’t pitch behind

I had my at ‘em ball going today.
We’ve got to have fun. The catcher and I
were on the same wavelength. That’s why they pay
him x million dollars. Give the guy

some credit; he hit a good pitch. Yes. No.
You saw it … write it. You’re only as good
as your last game. I just wanted to go
as hard as I could as long as I could.

That All-Star voting is a joke. It takes
twenty-four players. I couldn’t have done it
without my teammates. With a couple breaks,
we win that game. I don’t get paid to hit.

Hey, we were due to catch a break or two.
I did my best, and that’s all I can do.

From Futility Closet: ‘In 1990, weary of repetitive interviews, Phillies pitcher Don Carman posted this list of responses on his locker. “You saw the game,” he told reporters. “Take what you need.”’ Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

I should have drunk more champagne

I should have drunk more champagne. And the rest
of the world can kiss my ass. Plaudite,
amici, comedia finita est.
Better to burn out than to fade away.
Tell Fidel that this failure does not mean
the end of the revolution. I see
black light. I can’t sleep. Rain had always been
a harbinger of tragedy for me.
You can stop now; I’m already dead. All
my possessions for a moment of time.
Please put out the light. Please don’t let me fall.
I am not in the least afraid to die.
I must go to meet God, try to explain…
Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?

(Compiled from famous last words of real people)

Fool’s Parsley

A sonnet

Hedge mustard, hairy tare, mouse-ear-hawkweed,
Long-headed poppy, evening primrose, pale
persicaria, volunteer oilseed
rape, common toadflax, flixweed, field horsetail.
Corn spurrey, coltsfoot, creeping soft-grass, cock’s-
foot, common ragwort, cleavers, cut-leaved crane’s-
bill, bracken, bramble, black-grass, broad-leaved dock,
black nightshade, dove, Canadian fleabane.
Procumbent pearlwort, prickly lettuce, cow
parsley, fool’s parsley, speedwell, volunteer
potato, spear-leaved orache, prickly sow-
thistle, sun spurge, soft brome, sticky mouse-ear.
Field madder, field forget-me-not, goat’s-beard,
Field bindweed, scented mayweed, parsley piert.

Assembled from Garden Organic’s list of A-Z weeds by common name. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.