I spiered my Zen maister
What the wird suberijaku micht mean.
He raxed me
A wee five-inch bamboo Hemmi slide rule.
That'll no tell me
What suberijaku micht mean, says I.
Sae he raxed me
A muckle fit-lang British Thornton slide rule.
I acceps it decorous
Preein the kittle dysnochtifżin Zen wisdom
An thinkin hou tae gaun aboot pittin ower
Japanese intil a langage I ken better
Bi uise o a mathematical instrument.

Mindin that Zen maisters
Likes tae see a bit lateral thinkin in thair devotees
I selt the slide rule
An coft a Japanese-English dictionar.
Efter mony a nicht
Rakin for the pronunci‚tion suberijaku
Intil a iconographic-ordert dictionar
I'm bate.

Prood-like I tells the maister
The wey I niffert his slide rule for a dictionar.
Hummle I asks him
Hou tae finnd suberijaku intil't.
He sichs
He shaks his auld pow
He leuks up the wird for me.
Keekin at the peerie-weerie letters
I sees
That suberijaku
Means slide rule.
© Sandy Fleemin 2005. First published in Lallans 64 (ISSN 1359-3587).