I'm bemused by a report from Japan.
Poetry in the loo can cut down on paper use too, says a Japanese group campaigning to save toilet paper as part of the country's battle against global warming.
Simply pasting a "toilet poem" at the eye level of a person seated in the cubicle can help cut toilet paper use by up to 20 per cent, a study by the research centre Japan Toilet Labo showed.
"That paper will meet you only for a moment," reads one poem. "Fold the paper over and over and over again," says another. Or just: "Love the toilet."
Now the group is looking to have its posters displayed in 1,000 public toilets.
"We asked ourselves what we could do for the environment in the toilet?" said Ryusuke Nagahara of the Japan Toilet Labo. "The answer is to save toilet paper and save water."
Toilet paper use in Japan has been increasing in recent years, according to an industry body, possibly because of a rise in the number of public toilets, where people tend to use more paper.
"It's because it's free," said an official at the Kikaisuki Washi Rengokai. "At home, people are more inclined to scrimp."
Of course, we Westerners are no strangers to poetry in toilets. Graffiti artists have seen to that for generations. One of my favorites was reported from an English university bathroom. Someone wrote on one of the walls:
One would think, to read all this wit
That Shakespeare himself came here to s**t!
Someone familiar with the Shakespeare controversy immediately added underneath:
My literary friend, you are mistaken:
This is the work of Francis Bacon.
Much chortling from the literati, no doubt.
My personal favorite was found in the bathroom of the Theological College at Edinburgh University, Scotland, home of the Presbyterian faith. Written below the light switch were the immortal words (borrowed and somewhat modified from Luke 2:32 in the King James Version of the Bible):
A light to lighten the Genitals.