Jim Hopkins on current issues

Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Amusing musings from one not averse to a verse

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The All Blacks win the world cup. Photo / APN
The All Blacks win the world cup. Photo / APN

Sorry, folks. We did our best, said he didn't have to, but he insisted. "I must," he said. "My public expects it. It's that time of the year when the paper's full of lists; Best Picture, Best Album, Top Ten News Stories, Psychic Predictions, Ken Ring's Bumper Book of Earthquake Forecasts and, of course, most important of all, Her Majesty's selection" - from which he was, again, explicably omitted.

So here it is, for better or worse, from the crusty quill of the extinguished poet laureate, Sir Jam Hipkins (honour pending), a seasonal selection he's called The New Year's Sonnets List, although, to be honest, the daft old codger wouldn't know a sonnet if it bit him on the verse.

He has had a crack at one this year, with assistance from his (formerly) devoted muse, Miss Epiphany Throbbe. Relations have been strained since she suggested he should write more often with invisible ink.

And so to the first of this year's oeuvre, recalling one of the great scientific debates of 2011 involving the racy behaviour of extremely tiny particles, as observed by the lords of this ring thing in Switzerland:

It's hard on the Hadron
To know when a neutron
Is travelling faster than light
In theory, it shouldn't
So, therefore, it wouldn't
But, then again, maybe it might.
And if light isn't all that it's cracked up to be
Then time may be wonky as well
And it could be
That M = E, don't you C
The scientists simply can't tell.
It's a question for which they've no answer
The boffins are all in the dark
Are we here? Are we not?
Working out which is what
Will not be a quark in the park.
And another cryptic fragment:

Scientific Diet

Higgs Boson
Higgs Bison
Higgs Basin
Higgs Benedict
Early. For brunch
Then a rinse in the Basin
Higgs once washed his face in
And spit roast the Bison for lunch!

From science to superstition, some 5000-year epoch in the Mayan calendar is due to end in December, supposedly triggering a great contagion of dire consequences, including oblivion. The laureate isn't so sure:

May a Maya seer see a
Sign of doom impending
Or should a Inca thinker link
A date to fate descending
Then pay no heed to such as these
Deny a Maya's cries
Don't drink a Inca potion
To assist your own demise
If these old geezers could foretell
What e'er was writ and due
They'd still be running everything
And ruling me and you
Instead, they have to ruin gone
As we too shall, I fear
To share the distinction
Of social extinction
But it ain't gonna happen this year!!!!

Now for the sonnet, the laureate's tribute to one of the year's great minds:

What mighty power can words impart
Those ancient cuniforms
To fire the brain and warm the heart
And rearrange our norms.
It's easy now to share words through
The internet and such
And propagate a notion, true
To woo, provoke or touch.
Last year, there was but one rare phrase
That did those things, all three
So let us now its author praise
And grant him victory.
To you the prize, sir, yes, you win it
All hail the man who said, "Nek minnit!"

Sport now, and with Sir Ted's gong, no prizes for guessing what this is about:

From the forests of Fiordland
And from Grey Lynn's sylvan glade
From malls and halls
And countless walls
From office and arcade
There comes a single, joyful cry
That none dare mock or scoff
Four million Hillarys declare
"We knocked the b*****d off!!!!"
A single point was all it took
One penalty, well slotted.
By such great feet
We dodge defeat
And everyone's besotted.

Finally, if you're feeling more besodden than besotted, more winter than winner, take heart. The laureate's got mildew in his Y fronts, his garret's so cold. Summer shouldn't be like this. And it won't be, if Sir Jam has his way!

If you're tired of rotten weather
And it's driving you to drink
Here's a thought worth pondering
Let's see what you think.
Remember in the 50s
Back when nuclear was new
And everyone was dropping bombs
To see what they would do.
There were A Bombs and H Bombs
They were dropping the lot
And, ohhhh! what magnificent summers we got!
Long weeks full of sunshine
No storms, floods or rain.
Not while they were testing
So let's test again!!!!
Forget all those wimps
Who say "A bombs are bad."
Just drop 'em and bring back
The good times we had!!!

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