The vermin only teaze and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch.
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Lewis F. Richardson adapted the poem to meteorology, specifically discussing fractal wind patterns:
Big whorls have little whorls
That feed on their velocity;
And little whorls have lesser whorls
And so on to viscosity.
Gene V. Glass quoted an anonymous adaptation of the poem to educational measurement:
Big criteria have little criteria,
Upon their backs to bite ‘em;
And little criteria, have littler still,
And so on ad infinitum.
And Electronic Engineering students at Bangor in the 1960's had an adaptation for electric generators:
Big machines have small machines
Upon their backs to excite ‘em;
And small machines still smaller ones,
and so ad infinitum.