Infinity is Bullshit

The Mathematician by Rembrandt

Infinity is Bullshit

Oh, you’re so clever
With all your semantics,
And sleight-of-hand antics
About the forever.

But ‘infinite’ means nothing
Except for ‘very big’
And we all soon twig
That you’re really bluffing.

The same goes for ‘perfect’,
There’s no such a thing –
So stop worshipping,
Cos your god, he ain’t worth it.

So shove your hotels
And your arrows and monkeys –
We’re no theory’s flunkies
In updated Hells.

This whole universe
Is a finite amount
So however you count
Then it’s gonna get worse –

With numbers, it’s true
That whatever the score,
We can always add more
And still never be through

But you know what ?  So what ?
So the numbers end never…
In all of forever,
Is that you’re best shot ?

Let’s cut the pretense –
When I hear ‘infinite’
I substitute ‘bullshit’
And then it makes sense.

There is actually a branch of maths called Finitism which, while it does not deny that the concept of infinity exists, shrugs its shoulders and ignores it.

War of Words

Photo by Pixabay on

War of Words

Our Z’s are zeds, our maths is plural,
Routs are rooted, herbs are heard,
And Y’s are added to news and mural,
Post and petrol are preferred.
And then, we spell things diff’rently,
Like U’s in colour, E’s in grey,
We favour biscuits with our tea,
And get our chips from a takeaway,

The trouble is, we’re losing.
These days, all the art we get,
The culture and the etiquette
Is blowing to our shores
And when we make our own, we’re choosing
Ways to make it more like yours.
We’ve lost our national confidence, I guess,
We seem to export less,
As our markets flood with Yankee slang
And though we tut and though we chide,
Our countrymen will each decide
To stop the war and join your gang.

Monomorphic Adolescence

Concerto for Twelve Saxophones by Olgierd Rudak

Monomorphic Adolescence

Many moth and butterflies
Are wearing genders proud –
Males are coloured-up as males,
And ladies sport theirs loud.
But back when they were caterpillars,
They dressed all the same,
Until their pupas split to show the world,
As out they came.
It’s not like they have any choice,
Deciding which they’d rather –
They’re future’s set before they’re laid,
The sons become the fathers.
It must be hard to be a parent
Waiting long to be amazed,
As your kids emerge from their cocoons
And you see what sort you raised.
Except…a very few can play both sides,
Maintain the riddle –
With two wings boys and two wings girls,
And split straight down the middle.
Alas they cannot breed, these ones,
They’re an incidental plus –
When it comes to sexual selection,
It’s the others who choose for us.

Of course, by the time most caterpillar pupate, their parents are long gone. A few butterflies such as the tortoiseshell can hibernate over the Winter, though of course these are the ones which emerged late in the previous year and they don’t mate until the following Spring.

A Meal For One

Still Life with a Wicker Bottle by Carlo Magini

A Meal For One

“The condemned’s last meal is the ultimate dining-in experience”
                                                                – Judge Janus Jeremiah

After months of bread and gruel,
At last, a dish to whet my lips !
But oh, to bring it now is cruel –
I’d rather lard and apple pips.

A final meal is offered up,
A host to help assuage your guilt,
It seems so civilised, to sup
Before the ritual blood is spilt.

And all the while, with ev’ry bite,
The butcher’s hungry blade shall wait –
I am your fatted calf tonight,
Just like this one upon my plate.

All these calories I’ve chewed,
And yet so little time remains –
It’s such a waste of decent food,
You should have brought me simple grains.

These are the Beasts upon the Earth

Birds of the Bible by Catherine McClung

These are the Beasts upon the Earth

The Bible lumps the bats in with the birds,
And oh, how we sneer.
“A mammal is no more a fowl
Than a dragonfly is like an owl.”
But hang-on, none of those are Hebrew words,
So none of those appear
In the ancient texts – they’re our translations,
Sent back in time to new vocations.

Maybe what we think meant ‘bird’ to them
Meant simply ‘thing that flies’ –
And likewise whales are fish that swim,
And snakes are worms for lacking limbs.
It’s unscientific, so we condemn,
But that don’t mean it’s lies.
Their names did the job they were assigned –
So each to their own, hey, after their kind.

Book-Nosed Lukas

Duria Antiquior (Ancient Dorset) by Henry De la Beche, coloured and updated by Richard Bizley

Book-Nosed Lukas

Pterosaurs weren’t dinosaurs –
And so says Lukas, keen to crow.
You know what, Lukas ?  We already know.
And neither were the mosasaurs,
And ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs,
Dimetridon or sarchosuchus –
Come on, Lukas, don’t harp on so.

Sometimes, Lukas, we’ll play ball,
Cos evolution’s cool and all –
But we also need a name instead
To call all things that’re scaly, big, and dead.
We need a widely-recognised file,
A catch-all term, a handy pile –
But one that leaves out bird and crocodile.

With chapter, verse, and nomenclature ?
Oh, don’t be such a whiny bore,
By giving us a minus score
In your self-waging, name-defining war –
Lumbering and out-of-date,
We’ve got your number, Lukas, mate –
You’re such a dinosaur !

Balaam’s Asses

Balaam’s Ass by Gustave Doré

Balaam’s Asses

The Fundamentalists, they have it easy,
Claiming ev’ry King James word is true.
Of course the donkey spoke, if a little wheezy –
When God’s at hand, then that’s what donkey’s do.

But here in the good old C of E,
We never talk of the talking ass –
Like Balaam, we simply do not see,
And think the verse is lacking class.

Deep down, we know, you see, we know no donkey
Has the necessary lips, nor tongue, nor throat –
A quaint little fairytale, but quite the wrong key
For Sunday mornings – so not something we quote.

Now we’ve no problems with Holy Week
And the Resurrection – we’re all onboard –
But we just cannot accept that an ass can speak,
Not even for the Lord.

How the Curlew got its Curl

Long-Billed Curlew by Mike’s Birds

How the Curlew got its Curl

All the Summer, she shelters in her studio,
Under the North-sent light,
As she’s painting a curlew, a bird of the Winter,
That, like her, flees when the Sun gets bright.
She starts in April, starts from the tail-quills,
Nothing but browns and creams –
Slowly works forwards as evenings grow later,
Until she can hear its call in her dreams.

At five-times life-size, her bird is a monster,
A beautiful giant of the fens –
With every barb of every feather,
More real than in any photographer’s lens.
So unlike the shy things they are, them and her,
Avoiding the seaside crowds –
They to their moorland, her to her studio,
Waiting for the safety of the huddle’ing clouds.

By the late of May, she’s mottling the wing,
By June, she’s glinting the eye
By the height of July, she starts on the beak,
As the burning Sun is stoking-up the sky.
Inch-by-centimetre, longer and still longer,
Polished to perfection as she goes,
Longer than a godwit, longer than an avocet –
This beak is magnificent, and still its black arc grows !

All through August, she’s stretching it out
With the windows wide-open from dawn,
Bringing-in the songs of the blackbird and the goldfinch –
But the curlew cannot sing until its bill is fully-drawn.
Till finally, finally, it tapers to infinity,
Just as the September cools the air.
She locks up her studio and heads out to the marshes,
As the North-sent breezes blow the cobwebs from her hair.

Who Watches the Watches ?

Who Watches the Watches ?

These days, I let me wrists go naked,
Unencumbered by the time –
Shaking loose the shackles of knowing
Of just how fast the seconds are going.
I no more have to stress if I’ll make it,
I no more have to hear it chime.

There are dozens of other clocks to choose
On walls and screens and towers –
So why must I also carry it round,
And see that it’s hands are tightly wound ?,
When we spend our lives in constant news,
Surrounded by the hours.

Know your Onions

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Know your Onions

The onions always made you cry,
In ev’ry fry-up, soup, and pie –
But that’s what onions do, I guess,
They leave all chefs in such a mess.
And so you had to drop them out
From roasted duck and sauteed trout –
You didn’t trust, as master cook,
They way they always made you look.

Instead, you turned to garlic,
And gazed beyond shallots and springs –
Your eyes no longer marked by onion rings.
You tossed the cloves in thick,
Undaunted by my teasing quips –
“Is this to stop me kissing other lips ?”
Until, at once, you were gone –
You said it was to breathe fresh air,
To peel back the layers of life and see what’s there.
And yet, you linger on –
It’s been three days and a dozen beers,
Yet still I taste your garlic in my tears.