An ode (well, limerick) to CAM – updated twice

Via Ben Goldacre’s Twitter feed, I have just seen this rather well remunerated Prize for Medical Poetry.

The eminent Dr G suggests on Twitter that this should be

“…worth a punt with a limerick at least”.

What an excellent idea.

So, in the spirit of late night juvenilia, I offer the following effort:

Says the acupuncturist to the sick,
I’ve a specially neat little trick:
Though I’m stoked about CAM.
All my needling is SHAM
…So you won’t even feel a small pr*ck



And today’s try:

Now the homeopath, don’t you see,
Finds himself in a fearful quandry;
Should he ever let on,
That the whole thing’s a con,
He’d say “goodbye” to all of his fee

This second one also works with the alternative first line

Now the homeopathic MD,”

– in tribute to the eminent members of the medical profession who manage to believe in homeopathy whilst, apparently, also believing in evidence-based medicine and in tests of efficacy.

The amount of  Orwellian Doublethink that this must require on a daily basis leaves me in awe.

Actually, perhaps a better limerick for these erudite ladies and gents would be the following:

Now the homeopathic MD
Finds himself in a fearful quandry;
Should he ever let on,
That the whole thing’s a con,
He’d relinquish much authority


*Update 2 – THURSDAY Dec 3rd*

There is a bit of a Haiku competition going on (and some further limericks) in the comments thread below.  A special hat-tip goes to reader Rob A who has formed the “don’t keep your mind so open your brain falls out” sentiment into a really nice Haiku:

There are side effects
to ‘being open minded’ :
your brain might fall out

This put me in a Haiku mood, so I tried one of my own:

there’s simply nothing to it;
literally so.

And today I was commenting over on a thread at Respectful Insolence about the Grand-daddy of New Age Quantum Woo Deepak Chopra, when I was inspired to post a Haiku about the great man. I have now adapted it slightly to cover Alternative Therapies in general:

Healer’s words conjure
hopes and visions of well-ness;
cash register rings.


11 Responses to “An ode (well, limerick) to CAM – updated twice”

  1. Rob A Says:

    Haiku, if you please,

    There are side effects
    to ‘being open minded’ :
    your brain might fall out

  2. Nash Says:

    Can you finish this one?

    Once there was a homeopath
    Who claimed to be a

  3. draust Says:

    Nash, I’ve added a homeopathic limerick.

    Rob, I really like the Haiku, and with the proper 5-7-5 syllables yet. Nice one. Worthy of a competition entry, if you ask me.

  4. physicsmum Says:

    Tis the season to be jolly indeed! Methinks you have all been finding inner peace :P
    Rob, that is one of the best Haikus I have ever read :D

  5. Rob A Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Here’s the follow-up:

    miraculous yet simple.
    There’s nothing to it!

  6. nobby Says:

    needs a bit more work but here is mine:

    there was a 30c solution
    the active ingredient was lost in dilution.
    they say its “quantum you know”
    but its really placebo
    and they are still maintaining the delusion

  7. draust Says:

    Or even a slight edit, Rob:

    There’s simply nothing to it;
    literally so.

  8. Rob A Says:

    Last one today:

    Chakras out of sync?
    Meridians gone askew?
    Discover haiku

    (even rhymes a bit!)

  9. colon hydrotherapy los angeles Says:

    Cool haiku Rob, funny poetry draust. Why is needling a sham?

  10. Rob A Says:

    I am reminded,
    colon hydrotherapy:
    where there’s muck there’s brass.

  11. draust Says:

    Love the riposte in Haiku form, Rob. I probably would have written a paragraph (several paragraphs?), but the Haiku says it far better.

    Re. the needling, in my limerick there is no explicit or even implicit statement that needling / acupuncture is per se a sham – think a Reading Comprehension 101 class is needed.

    I profess no expertise on needling, BTW, though there certainly is an increasing consensus among sceptical scientists that acupuncture is largely or wholly an impressively theatrical placebo therapy. See for instance here, or Barker Bausell’s book Snake Oil Science.

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