For the past decade we have used various forms of doggerel, usually limericks, as greeting cards, invitations or commentary on the state of the world. Only in moments of universal importance have we ventured into poetry in the classical form of a sonnet. Often this has been a cooperative venture.
The occasion of a big birthday is of such importance that each of us has had to work alone. Roald set a very high standard in 2009. I did my best in to match it in 2010.

    Sonnet for Shirrell's on her birthday
    Sept 15,09

    September's ides (plus two) are close at hand
    when many years ago was born our girl.
    Some say she was the fairest in the land
    with dimpled smile and Shirley Temple curl.

    Her early days were spend in East Aurora.
    She later mastered Virgil's awesome tome.
    At Oberlin she quickly learned to pour a
    full mug of beer with minimum of form.

    Her graduation brought a host of suitors,
    with each of them the future truely glowed,
    but only one said "I can do computers".
    Since then they wrote a million lines of code.

    This birthday need not presage some new stage.
    Its merely more and more of middle age.


    To Roald On the Occasion of his Birthday
    Aug 4,10

    What could be worse than marriage to a bore
    a dullard with a mind that deals in stocks;
    or holds his narrow views down to the core;
    a spirit filled with moldy building blocks.

    A sportsman bent on ruthless killing games:
    his stag head mounted on the mantel piece.
    A jester with a stock of jokes declaims
    his rusty lines. Oh would that they might cease.

    Instead I won the prize, the golden crown,
    Blond hair, blue eyes - a Swiss and Swedish blend.
    Musician, athlete, yet he loves to clown
    An avid punster and a loyal friend.

    No bore, not he, and waking very day
    I bless the moment when he came my way!

The following movie taken on Roald's birthday is in .AVI format; rather large and awkward to download. <br/><br/> <a href="images/Roald-80-Sonnet.AVI">A sonnet for Roald on the Occasion of his Birthday</a>