The Pumping Lemma – Poem by Harry Mairson

Any regular language L has a magic number p
And any long-enough word in L has the following property:
Amongst its first p symbols is a segment you can find
Whose repetition or omission leaves x amongst its kind.

So if you find a language L which fails this acid test,
And some long word you pump becomes distinct from all the rest,
By contradiction you have shown that language L is not
A regular guy, resiliant to the damage you have wrought.

But if, upon the other hand, x stays within its L,
Then either L is regular, or else you chose not well.
For w is xyz, and y cannot be null,
And y must come before p symbols have been read in full.

As mathematical postscript, an addendum to the wise:
The basic proof we outlined here does certainly generalize.
So there is a pumping lemma for all languages context-free,
Although we do not have the same for those that are r.e.

There are some other poems by Harry Mairson at I found this poem while reading a discussion at The Old Joel on Software Forum.