Renovating Sputniks

Soft Mick phoned Mr Putin

In Yalta on his holidays

“I’ll give you twenty quid

For your obsolete technology”

Vlad said “Now listen, sunshine,

I don’t want any trouble

So if you can provide the van

We’ll call it fifty roubles.”

Mick drove to Nizhny-Novgorod

And filled a Lada’s boot

With mangled scraps of Mir

And moth-eaten spacesuits.

He had nothing to declare

As his homeward trail unfurled

But contempt for crooked bureaucrats

And a plan to save the world.


One ensconced in his “space lab”

He first had to decipher

The Soyuz 7 manual

They’d thrown in for a fiver

It was written in Cyrillic script

Just his rotten, stinking luck

He had to go to Waterstones

And buy himself a phrasebook

His perusal took him several months

Of intense concentration

He withdrew from the hoi polloi

To complete his education

And learnt the technicalities

Of Russian rocket science

He felt like he could touch the stars

Standing on the shoulders of giants

His nearest and dearest asked:

“What’s the matter with our Mick?”

But they shook their heads in dismay

When he said “I’m building a sputnik.”


It was like a scrapheap challenge

Recycling space junk

Hydraulic pipes and gyroscopes

Magnets, screws and gunk

But Mick became the master

Of creative innovation

No problem was unsolvable

With his genius for adaptation

His space ship now was streamlined

With a thoroughly modern makeover

(And the dog had ate the appendix

So there were several bits left over)

Mick guessed it weighed about as much

As a single decker bus

To get it into orbit

Would need tremendous thrust.

The manual called for hydrogen

And tanks of liquid air

Beyond an amateur astronaut

With thirty quid to spare

So he went to Tesco Extra

And filled some glass retorts

With Premium unleaded

And a dash of Worcester sauce.

His nearest and dearest asked:

“Is it ready yet, Our Mick?”

Then they phoned up Look North West

“Would you like to see a sputnik?”


The TV cameras filmed the launch

Mick looked deservedly proud

As he carried out his pre-launch checks

And then addressed the crowd:

“I’m renovating sputniks

To protect our sovereign skies

So the warmongers in Washington

Can’t control us with their spies.

They’ve got x-ray guns and bombs up there

Like a necklace of devastation

I offer you some peace of mind

For a reasonable monthly payment.

Next time they contravene a convention

I’ll zap them into the fourth dimension.

You can all sleep soundly in your beds

With Soft Micks Sputniks overhead.”

Then he lighted the blue touch paper

Retreated to his booth

And the thruster jets roared skywards

Their trajectory true and smooth

The exhaust fumes billowed and dispersed

As the sputnik soared up high

They looked like plumes of instant whip

And smelt of cottage pie.

But somewhere over Chorley

There was a titanic fart

And Mick’s peace-probe exploded

In a shower of molten parts

His nearest and dearest asked:

“Should that have happened, Our Mick?”

But they shook their heads in dismay

When he said “What do you f*****g think?”


◄ Dreamtime


Janet Ramsden

Sun 3rd Jan 2010 11:07

I know i've said this before about your poetry but it really does stand out that you are very musical.
I love this, it's fun and rhythmic. My kind of performance poetry. Light and not too serious.
Very unlike much of mine. :-)


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Sat 2nd Jan 2010 20:18

brilliant ! I love the dog ate the appendix etc.
I've added my similar ramblings written a couple of years ago - "urban planning"

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