Dr Charles has put out a call for submissions to a poetry contest on the themes of medicine, health, or science (do obscene limericks about penises count?). Send in your entries before the end of the month for a chance at winning money. Real money. This poetry stuff looks like an immensely lucrative field.

(Also on Sb)


  1. Cuttlefish says

    Thanks, Sastra; I needed a laugh.

    I really liked this competition last year, although as I predicted, I had no chance of winning. There were some wonderful poems, some really moving stuff, and I’m a bit more of a blunt instrument. I’ll likely try again, but will find greater enjoyment in reading the eventual winners.

  2. The Vogon says

    Shucks, if Cuttlefish’s poetry is so lame
    compared to the poems in last year’s competition,
    & if this year’s are the same,
    then they must be worthy of wide dissemination.
    So let’s see ’em.

  3. says

    I’m a novelist, not a poet.
    Uhh, let’s see here.

    Roses are red,
    The sky is blue,
    And why is this so?
    Because roses absorb all visible light except the lower frequency part so it reflects red light so it looks red, and the sky, well, uh, go look it up on Wikipedia.

  4. wickedlad says

    This poetry stuff looks like an immensely lucrative field.

    I knew it. You’re in the pocket of Big Poetry. You and Dr. Charles. You and Dr. Charles and Cuttlefish.

  5. says

    Thanks for the link PZ. I was starting to worry that there would be a preponderance of medical entries… some amazingly crafted scientific words last year.

    And yes, limericks about penises do count, but they are starting at a slight disadvantage in terms of winning.


  6. Ray Fowler says

    Here’s my naughty scientist limerick for the day..

    There once was a biologist named Enos
    Studied animals by length of their genus
    A zipper unclosed
    Left his cock exposed
    But soon fixed with a flytrap named Venus

  7. says

    I can’t help but think that the hard sciences are an uneasy fit with poetry, given the history of the genre, boasting as it does such classics as “Dentologia: A Poem on the Diseases of the Teeth and their Proper Remedies” by Soleyman Brown, of which this is a small part:

    Whene’er among the ivory disks, are seen,
    The filthy footsteps of the dark gangrene;
    When Caries comes, with stealthy pace to throw
    Corrosive ink spots on those banks of snow-
    Brook no delay, ye trembling, suffering fair,
    But fly for refuge to the dentist’s care.
    His practiced hand, obedient to his will,
    Employs the slender file with nicest skill;
    Just sweeps the vermin of disease away,
    And stops the fearful progress of decay.

  8. says

    Lol @ Ray

    Here is my attempt:

    Anthurium are red.
    Passiflora caerulea are blue.
    Only creationists visit my blog.
    So fuck you.


    As the high desert rains slow,
    and the sun no longer devotes her time to the sands,
    Cold winds whisp hereafter;

    Teasing leaves on delicate trees, that softly fall.
    Like the arguments of young earthers. It’s full of shit.

    Ugh. I am no good at this.

  9. =8)-DX says

    Urgh… I just finished and sent in a poem. I haven’t done this in ages and almost drowned in sweat attempting it (being a total layman in both science and medicine), so I guess that now requires me to post it up here to get ripped to shreds by the distinguished pharyngulans:

    My body

    As organisms we bend our minds to comprehend,
    The function of our bodies and our brains,
    Growth and youth and maturity –
    Hands and feet and insecurity –
    Respiration, dehydration and sensation –
    My first orgasm, what elation.

    Makes you sick to realise: man, boy, woman, child
    Stuck in this brainy, bony meat-sack I call I.

    Adolescents adventure out to discover themselves
    Discover diseases, goose pimples and sneezes,
    Challenge chicken pox, and hot and cold breezes,
    Stroking the hairs, bare skin feelers,
    With millions of nerve endings, sending –
    A rush up my spine, an electrical line –
    How much of that reaches the central cortex, wow?
    Biological machines that dream of consciousness, how?

    It used to be the right thing to ask the pope,
    What today you can see in a microscope.
    Informed by science you can see yourself:
    Immense cell colonies, living, dying – just cope.

    Thanks to school I no longer pray,
    For God to make my body work the right way.
    If I got a problem I want my doc right on the spot,
    Hey doc, hit me with what you’ve got – it’s hot.
    One day I’ll say thanks if I say break my legs,
    For pain-killers and sterile pads and bandages,
    For anaesthesia, scalpels and large fat nurses.
    Or if another illness makes me less flirtatious:
    For science-based medicine paid from all our purses,
    For cancer research, vaccines or treatments for herpes.

    If you’re still young and still afraid:
    Of how you were born and how you’re made,
    Remember this and all your fears will flee,
    Science can explain our bodies and will make us free.

  10. spamamander says

    Well, if penis poems are at a disadvantage, how about the other half?

    One of the fascinating things to come from evolution
    Is sexual reproduction, in its myriad forms
    But of humanity’s women there’s been revolution
    Between reverence and abhorrance as norms.

    In a ‘new age’ of womyn and matriarchal dreams
    Comes the vulva as a goddess’ portal
    Ritual and pleasure, almost worship it seems
    Of that passage to life and mortal.

    The Western world has done its part
    Religion and patriarchy and scorn
    What simply is a useful, even pleasurable part
    Is ‘filth’ or ‘unclean’ or ‘porn’.

    From rinsing with Lysol, to feminine ads
    To having that ‘not so fresh feeling’
    We’re told that this part of us, which most women have
    Is soiled, in need of concealing.

    But I celebrate the vulva! Labia and more
    The uterus and ovaries, we all should want
    To call it by name, recognize what it’s for…
    Just please don’t call it a cunt.