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(The famous, if defunct, Punch began life as ‘an asylum for orphan wit’. In the same charitable spirit, LUPO hereunder offers a refuge or salon des refusés for a wandering band of homeless acrostics.)

What goes around, said Spenser, comes around
Eventually. It takes the scenic route,
No man does otherwise. Or so I’ve found.
Dull as they are, and crashing bores to boot,
You watch them droning on, and eat your fruit.
Could it, you ask of Spenser, get much worse?
Oh blast! a man’s not like a formal suit –
Please take him back. You won’t? You start to curse.
Except, dear Ed, this is a Marks and Spencer verse.

Bill Greenwell

Cigarette is a special type of medicine
Reserved for those who cannot cough unaided.
Andrex is tickets for the water feature
Inside a chair called Royal Doulton.
Gravy is cattle-flavoured custard
Rendered magically from soil.
Arm is a long, articulated tongue;
It loves the taste of women’s shoulders.
Nudity is when the National Clothes’ Union
Elects to take industrial action.

Rob Stuart

Little children mess you up
As you messed up your mum and dad.
Remember it when they grow up,
Keep shtum when their kids drive them mad.
It’s nature’s plan to make them tougher,
Now just sit back and watch them suffer.

Martin John

Observe the centre of an ancient town:
Gone to decay, deserted shops closed down,
Only the charitable kind still there
Lost in an empty setting of despair
Doomed by emporias’ far distant aisles
Stuffed with cheap goods and practised pedlars' wiles!

Mankind, rejoice! Now these usurpers find,
In turn, their trade has palpably declined
Thanks to the rise of commerce prefixed e
Humbling the pride of puffed-up grocery!

Jerome Betts

Joan Hunter Dunn, oh, Joan Hunter Dunn,
Oh what’s this I see in the Aldershot Sun,
Happily leafing through dull, local news,
Never expecting such pulse-raising views?

Burnished all over, in tennis-girl pose,
Enchantingly lacking your usual clothes,
There’s you on page three, your most boyish of graces
Just waving around in Aldershot's faces.

Exposure like this is not good for one’s heart.
Mother has called to suggest that we part.
And the chaps at the golf club all laugh at me now.
Never mind marriage. I’m moving to Slough.

Matt Quinn

Edwin A. Robinson displayed
Disturbing skill in versifying
Withering health, true love betrayed,
Intrigue, and dying.

Nothing that Edwin ever wrote
Assuaged his endless stream of sorrows
Rooted in ancient times remote,
Or bleak tomorrows.

Barely a single man survives
In all this world, who's heard my hero
Nattering on how countless lives
Summed up to zero.

Obdurate gloom which Ed expressed
Now leaves me thoroughly depressed.

Douglas G. Brown

Such a noise, such ululation!
Your baby has swallowed a flugelhorn.

Like a banshee, a tinnitus.
Very well, I shall leave it alone.

I found it squalling and squalling
As if it had wolfed a wasp.

Perhaps I should lather its tongue, its tongue:
Let us guard against foulbrood, it is a little larva,

A tiddler, a slingshot, a bantam.
This is its lung, its lung –

Hear it squealing, as clean as a scalpel.

Bill Greenwell

What impetus makes poets write?
Evidence shows it’s not for pay,
Nor, obviously, for fame. So might
Dividends drive the urge away?
You never hear of financiers
Composing verse. Arts councils should
Offer the poets posh careers.
Perhaps a small endowment would
Encourage them to stop for good.

Susan McLean