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Poetry in the RIPE Database – 'Poem' and 'Poetic-Form' objects


descr: After finding the most secret object in the database
text: I’ve used this base for a while
text: and I thought it was dry in its style
text: I’m deeply impressed
text: – would never have guessed
text: that there is actually rhyme in the file!
author: ABA4-RIPE


The RIPE Database is not just a repository for current records regarding the allocation of numerical internet resources, their routing, and ns records, but also a creative platform for poetry competitions among network engineers.

Since the 1990s and continuing to this day, network engineers have been publishing poems in the RIPE Database. There’s even an entire Secret Working Group dedicated to poetry.

In this article, we will explore the history of the creation of ‘Poem’ and ‘Poetic-Form’ objects, provide examples of these objects, explain how to publish one’s own poem, and also assess the creative atmosphere in the databases of other RIRs.


Since the 1990s, there existed a LIMERICK Object in the RIPE Database, within which network engineers could publish their compositions in the form of limericks. An example entry looked like this:

limerick: LIM-OLD-34
descr: Tony Bates had left the NCC and Phil
descr: Jones suggested Mike Norris
descr: take over that presentation
text: So as not to be ruled out of court
text: They’ve traditionally been rather short
text: So, using your head, you’ll
text: See why the RIPE schedule
text: Never features a lim’rick report.
admin-c: LIM1-RIPE
author: MN131
mnt-by: LIM-MNT
changed: 19970321
source: RIPE

However, not everyone was satisfied with the existence of only the LIMERICK object, as there were enthusiasts who enjoyed writing in styles other than Limerick, such as Haiku. They desired the creation of separate objects tailored to the form of their poems.

Thus, in 2004, a group of enthusiasts from the Secret Working Group, during RIPE-48, proposed the implementation of The Poem Object and The Poetic Form Object to replace Limerick. The Poem Object should contain the poem, while the poetic form object describes the form of the poem, using the poem form itself.

The community embraced this creative initiative, and since then, when creating a poem object, authors can specify the ‘Form’ attribute, which can refer to the required poetic form object. As a result, former LIMERICK objects were converted to POEM Objects

As of today, authors have a choice of 5 poetic forms to select from:

  • FORM-CHLAPOUVOTRON (The object exists but hasn’t been chosen by poem authors as a poem form.)

Each poetic-form object provides an example of the poem form.

poetic-form: FORM-PROSE
descr: Don’t let the structure tie your tongue;
descr: if you hate the masochism of verse,
descr: remember that you can feel free to use prose,
descr: and feel free because you are.
admin-c: LIM1-RIPE
mnt-by: RIPE-DBM-MNT

Despite the opportunity to publish poems existing for about three decades, the number of authors contributing poetry is minimal. As of the year 2023, only a few have engaged in publishing, resulting in a total of 234 poems.


One of the recent ones was published in the last modification in September of this year.

poem:            POEM-ROUTE48
descr:           Route48 Eulogy Poem
remarks:         ==============================================================
remarks:         For fun, try running one of the following commands:
remarks:         * mtr -m60 2a06:a005:2720:dead::1e
remarks:         * traceroute -m60 2a06:a005:2720:dead::1e
remarks:         Or checkout the inet6num for 2a06:a005:2720::/44.
remarks:         ==============================================================
text:            In the digital realm where connections did thrive,
text:            Lived Route48, a beacon in the network’s grand hive,
text:            A BGP tunnelbroker, its mission so clear,
text:            To unite hobbynets, far and near.
text:            With bandwidth donated by generous hearts,
text:            Haven it offered for networks to start,
text:            A free community service, its spirit so high,
text:            In the glass fibres where packets would fly.
text:            Yet shadows emerged, a malicious few,
text:            Who sought to harm sponsors, their goodwill undue,
text:            They tarnished the service with actions unkind,
text:            For greed led them astray, and malice they’d find.
text:            Route48, with a heavy heart, had to resolve,
text:            To protect its kind sponsors, the network must dissolve,
text:            Though born from a spirit of sharing and love,
text:            It closed its doors, to the heavens above.
text:            But remember, O hobbynets, the service so pure,
text:            For it was built on goodwill, of that, we are sure,
text:            Though closed by the wicked, it still shines in our hearts,
text:            As a testament to kindness, where community starts.
text:            In the world of routers, where routes interlace,
text:            Lives this route, the last remnants of its grace,
text:            Memory eternal of our beloved friend,
text:            May thy mission succeed, and IPv4 upend.
form:            FORM-PROSE
author:          QC72-RIPE
mnt-by:          LIM-MNT
created:         2022-11-26T06:47:35Z
last-modified:   2023-09-19T03:01:29Z
source:          RIPE

And here are other examples in the style of Limerick:

poem: POEM-OLD-16
text: RIPE was always an open gang
text: but most newcomers don’t show up
text: does any old-hand know why’s that?
text: Let’s tell them: ‘come and have some fun’
admin-c: LIM1-RIPE
author: JMS8-RIPE
remarks: This object is translated from LIMERICK type to POEM type.
mnt-by: LIM-MNT
created: 2005-05-03T16:43:34Z
last-modified: 2005-05-03T16:43:34Z
source: RIPE

poem: POEM-BW1407-RIPE
descr: Bell-grade telecom signaling at RIPE85
text: on thursday’s plenary community much was discussed on unity the secret group was outed but no one fussed or shouted & we need new folks for continuity
author: LIM1-RIPE
mnt-by: LIM-MNT
created: 2022-10-28T09:30:25Z
last-modified: 2022-10-28T09:30:25Z

At the same time, poems are not limited to the English language. Here’s an example of a poem in the Haiku style in German:

poem:            POEM-MN-2
form:            FORM-HAIKU
text:            die Blitze fallen
text:            aus aller Himmel Wolken
text:            in die Datenbank
author:          TG9943-RIPE
remarks:         Von Tobias geschrieben, von Beat zum Abschied bei
remarks:         MeteoNews eingepflegt. Alles Gute mit dem Netz und
remarks:         vielen Dank fuer alles!
mnt-by:          LIM-MNT
created:         2018-06-07T12:01:50Z
last-modified:   2018-06-07T12:01:50Z
source:          RIPE# Filtered

How to create a Poem object?

These objects cannot be created through the regular method via but only by submitting a request to the limerick-wg via email:

After approval by the working group, the poem will be published.

And what about other RIRs?

There is a LIMERICK object in AFRINIC, but the author is limited to five lines.

We also managed to find a creative trace in the APNIC archives in the form of a Limerick object. However, it is currently not displayed in their whois, so we cannot provide a link to it.

At the same time, we failed to find poetic objects in LACNIC and ARIN. If you have succeeded in doing so, please share the information.

Author: Anastasia Kleiman