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Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 13:33 UK

Your practical poems

Scene from Last of the Summer Wine
Might rhyming instructions be easier to follow?

When the Magazine challenged professional poets to make poetry more functional readers sent in their own compositions, based on everyday instructions.

The most mundane cooking guide and the dullest railway station announcement will never be the same again.

We are bombarded with instructions daily, so you sent in hundreds of your own verses.

Thanks for all the entries. Here is a selection of our favourites.


Ctrl, Alt, Delete. Ctrl, Alt, Delete.
Press, hold, release, then repeat.
Task Manager appears on Windows NT,
Not responding, so End Task, you see.
'Hoorah!', you say. That didn't take long.
If problem persists, close programs one by one.
Roz, London

(TEXT: Press and hold down Alt, then Ctrl, then Delete keys. When you have them all held down at once, release them. If you have Windows NT, click Task Manager. Often one program is highlighted and listed as Not Responding. If not, select the program that was active when the screen froze. Click End Task in the dialog box. If another dialog box appears, click End Task again. If this solves the problem, you're done. Save any work in other open applications. If this doesn't solve the problem, repeat the process, closing down programs one by one.)


If you want to travel around
on the London Underground,
with your Oyster card you walk right through.
It's the easiest way to avoid the queues.
Load tickets on it in advance
and see your balance at a glance.
At yellow buttons, touch in and out
and check for the green light throughout.
It calculates the cheapest fare.
However, you should be aware
that if you cheat, you'll pay a fine.
Your card can easily be managed online.
At underground stations, you can top up cash or claim your money and deposit back.
To stay mobile, it is really smart
to make the most of your Oyster card.
Gordina Steckert, Cologne, Germany


Take away the tree, see the source.
Make it holy; gentle, no force
Surround with darkness, but fire by degrees.
Wait for sustenance to come to life, please.
Skin the final layer but practise care
For fear of injury to flesh laid bare.
Totalitarian uniformity must be ensured.
Your ready repast can now be endured.
Jane Grainger, Chichester

(ORIGINAL TEXT: Remove cardboard sleeve. Pierce film lid. Place in oven at 180C for 25 minutes. Carefully peel off film lid. Ensure food is piping hot throughout. Enjoy.)
To make your egg go hard inside
Just take heed of the following guide
Make your water hot and frothy
then drop your egg in very softly
Add some salt into your pan
just in case some cracks happen
If you want your egg all hard inside
10 minutes boil should be just fine.
If you like your yolk all soft and runny
Three minutes time is on the money.
Dave Cassar, London


X equals minus B,
plus or minus the square-root,
of B squared minus 4 A C,
All over 2 A
Darren Rye, Coventry, UK

Fill the kettle - but not to much
Warm the pot - till it's hot to touch
Add the tea - one per person
Add another - to be certain
Some boiling water in - till that'll do
Milk in cups - while you let it brew
Pour it out - add some sugar
Wait a bit - then have another.
Geoff Webb, Northampton
Always, always warm the pot
whether you have time or not
Draw the water freshly too
as this ensures a better brew
If a litre's what you need
then four teaspoons will succeed
in filling six cups, medium strength.
Five full minutes is the length
of time before you pour
and with good leaf-tea nothing more.
Anne Connolly, Edinburgh


Please mind the gap,
as you exit the train,
if you trip you might get
an ankle sprain.
Please don't leave your bag,
on the platform too long,
we'll have to destroy it,
- it could be a bomb!
When the warning sounds,
stand clear of the doors,
commuters and school-kids,
there's no room for more.
And please do remember,
the rules not to smoke,
so if someone lights up,
just give them a poke.
Please also respect,
the staff on the train,
who put up with moaning,
again and again.
Please follow these rules,
and then hopefully,
we'll all get home,
in time for tea.
Cheryl, High Wycombe
Crowded platform, walk zig-zag,
But please be careful with your bag;
For if you leave it at the station
It shall be taken into our administration.
We'll assume it's some device
To effect the loss of life
And to prevent lives being snuffed
We'll be obliged to blow up your stuff.
Peter Zimmerman, Edgware

Don't rush forwards
And don't step back,
Or you'll slip down the gap
And get zapped on the track.
Jon Dunn, Shetland, UK


Be quiet?
Omissions may haunt you
Admissions may damn you
BC, Isle of Man

(TEXT: You do not have to say anything, but it might harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.)


Halt, haunted matchboxman! Beware
the doppelganger you may bring to life
to set upon the world. Its grainy form
and muffled roar will stalk you
to the pit, will rob
your last unshackled morning. Such
coin-clipping, even without coin,
committed with the devil in your hair
for nothing but perverse delight
will summon men and metabeasts,
will cover you with pitch and down,
will skewer you and see you drown,
will fine you a quarter million pound.
Kirsty Irving, London

(TEXT: Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.)


"Eat more roughage, eat your fibre"
Doesn't really have much vibe or
Anything to get you going,
Other than it is worth knowing.
Add some brown grain to your diet
Check it's whole before you buy it
Pulses such as peas and lentils
And those other elementals -
Fruit and veg for snack or luncheon,
Eaten raw for you to munch on.
Little changes are enough
To keep you living long - and rough.
Ingrid Cranfield, London


Walk to the car and open the door,
Put yourself in with your feet on the floor.
Holding the key in your tight little hand
Insert into lock and turn it around.
When engine starts up with a gentle uproar,
Shift stick into gear and give gas a bit more.
Move serenely away, while waving goodbye
And take good care, for you don't want to die.
Go round the block, once, twice maybe thrice,
'Til the hang of it you get in only a trice.
Driving a car will no longer appear the
Terror imagined, so put cell phone to ear.
Brashly speed up, ignore all the rules,
Gesture the walkers, make some of them rude.
Weave in and out, scare children and dogs
You're now fully qualified - a major road hog.
Susan, Arizona, US
Time to fill your car with fuel
Don't forget the golden rule
Green's the tube if you're unleaded
Black for diesel and off you're headed!
Christine and John, South Yorkshire

When you see a residential place
Don't put your foot down in a race
Think the 30 limit
You may hit someone in a minute
Cameras watch and wait,
Ready to snap your number plate
Should it pour, slow even more
Put the brake to the floor
So use some sense at no expense
Drive for all, it is your call.
Neil, Cheltenham


Rip off the lid,
Remove sachet of sauce,
Put it to one side,
For later of course.
A half pint of water,
Bubbling and hot,
Position the jug,
Pour into the pot.
Leave for two minutes,
You can't just use haste,
Give it a stir,
Then add sauce to taste.
Sit down and enjoy,
This pot snack so crude,
And next time you shop,
Sam E, Warwickshire


If your iPod doesn't work,
find the switch that locks the keys.
Give the switch a gentle jerk
and that may cure your
If the screen is black or frozen,
hold the menu and selection
buttons 'til from nothing grows an
apple cure for iInfection.
Andrew Masters, Melbourne


Summer is coming, exams are the caper,
And do put your number at the top of the paper.
If you like to go on, if chatter's your thing,
Attach extra sheets with a small piece of string.
Watch your exam time, is my first suggestion,
And use a fresh page for each fresh, shiny question.
Leave all those mobile phones somewhere well away,
Or we'll think you are texting for a friend's help today.
Here's one more thing I will say to you,
Write your rough working and then cross it through,
You cannot leave during the final half hour,
Even if your brain has turned pretty sour.
Then after two hours, you're almost on your knees.
And you'll sigh with relief at the "Stop writing, please!"
Nigel Macarthur, London, England


It's time to furnish stomachs with the following, don't omit:
That cows shall make the sound of "moo" get two
Five of peeling yellow is appealing to the sane don't complain
Nature calls for rolls a pack, to clean and feel relieved
Seven of this please, one-a-day, keep the doctor well at bay
A kilo to delight in Earth's uprooted gift, orange it is
Chicken or the egg? That which breaks a dozen, that shall do.
Breakfast; bread and butter.
Listen to the melody when they sing, one of each.
Sajed Amirinia, London, UK

(TEXT: Don't forget everything, we need it for the next couple of days! 2x milk, 5x bananas, 1 pack toilet rolls, 1 kilo apples, 1 kilo carrots, a dozen eggs, 1x butter, 1 loaf bread)


If you intend to unlock me, please
make sure you have undamaged keys
Together we'll go all the way
Not tomorrow - Now, today!
Come in, turn round, let me look at you
Who put my parts in order like you knew
Until everything was where it should be
Unforced, gentle, turning free
When it's over, don't mess about
Just go, my darling, walk straight out
sure and gentle as you came
We both know you'll be back again
Vicki Chung, Edinburgh

(TEXT: To open the lock, insert the key completely, then turn 180 degrees. It may be necessary to gently turn the key back and forth as you insert it. This movement ensures that all discs are in the correct position. NEVER use force when turning the key. NEVER use bent or damaged keys. NEVER turn the key whilst removing it from the lock. This can leave the discs in the wrong position and make inserting the key difficult.)


That savage band, the BBC,
Fierce Pirates of that yearly fee -
Pounds sterling almost 143 -
Announce their mutinous decree:
To stop another Sachs-gate row,
Their heathen rules in fact allow
Destruction of your poetry now
They'll mutilate your text, and how!
Or worse - an even greater fear
Your poem may not at all appear
Or only on a medium queer,
In foreign nation, far from here.
(If this be published, for all to see,
The Press is freer than lawyer's fee.)
Sam, Leeds, UK

(TEXT: The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.)
Take everyday instructions
And turn them into verse
We've provided some examples -
Yours could hardly be much worse!
Then send them out by e-mail
To the usual address
Please call the message "poetry"
Or use the form, I guess.
And if your rhymes impress us
And your scansion meets the test
Then your poem might be published -
For it's better than the rest.
Adrian Jackson, Reading, UK

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