In Competition No. 3007 you were invited to submit a poem about Larry, the Downing Street cat. Larry came to No. 10 in 2011 from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home during David Cameron’s premiership. He was left behind when the family moved on, though Mr Cameron denied that this was because he hated cats. Although he has been less than impressive in his role as Chief Mouser — apparently spending more time kipping than hunting down rodents — the ten-year-old tabby has inspired a book, a cartoon strip and has accrued 136,000 followers on Twitter. Honourable mentions go to Sylvia Fairley, Frank Upton, Basil Ransome-Davies, Paul Carpenter, Frank Osen and John O’Byrne’s Emily Dickinson-inspired entry. The prizewinners, printed below, are rewarded with £30 apiece and Max Ross pockets the bonus fiver.
Much have I travelled in the realms of men,
And lots of homeless mutts and moggies seen;
In many a city dustbin have I been
To tell of which would tax a poet’s pen.
Hopeless and crazed with hunger was I then,
All skin and bone, a thing unwashed, unclean;
I lived a life unbeautiful and mean
Till I was saved and brought to No. 10.
Then felt I like a pauper made a king
Dumfounded by my rich inheritance;
Now every morning I hear angels sing
Of paradise, of pomp and circumstance.
Ah, here I have the best of everything,
A life of ease no wizard could enhance.
Larry says, her garb is odd
The colours loud and louder
She never purrs, but praises God
And others of His clowder
He says she likes a kitten heel
Larry likes her sex appeal
Respects her leather keks
Larry says, her stroking hand
Is very sure and stable
She’d kill a mouse, if it were planned,
Or wore a designer label
But lately she has hissy fits
And clips him with a Vogue
Her visitors hate cats to bits
And sport an Irish brogue
With the spryness of a puma, with a wicked sense of humour,
With a satirist’s demystifying eyes
He patrols the Whitehall railings itemising human failings.
That’s Larry, folks, the Witty and the Wise.
He’s as salty as a sailor, he’s as hip as Norman Mailer,
He’s got cool, he’s got charisma, he’s got class.
He has super-potent mojo, doesn’t give a damn for BoJo,
And tells Damian Green to shove it up his arse.
Since the Maybot installation as the leader of the nation
Like a zombie dragged-up version of Farage,
Larry hangs out at a distance till her personal assistants
Shut her down for several hours to recharge.
When you earn your bread and butter co-existing with a nutter
It’s a contradiction, but as Larry says,
‘Never mind a funny living, it’s the gift that keeps on giving’.
He’s already bought a welcome mat for Jez.
I’m a house cat, a mouse cat,
A clever cat and proud.
I’m a fat cat, a rat cat,
The darling of the crowd.
Call me classy if you choose
And regal if you must;
I feast among the famous folk
For I am upper crust.
I’m here in No. 10 to stay
Though families come and go;
And it would shatter hoi polloi
To know the things I know.
Of all the felines in the world
I guess there cannot be
A cat with greater privileges.
MAGNIFICAT — that’s me.
I’m the Battersea Bruiser, no pussy-cat loser,
Ten Downing Street’s chav chât-elain;
When there’s mouses need fixin’ and rats ripe for nixin’
No problem, guys, Larry’s your man.
No mutt calls me Mog — I live high on the hog,
My PM’s an A1 role model:
Top care and attention plus index-linked pension —
Each day is a dream-ticket doddle.
True, some of her cronies are freeloading phoneys
And backstabbers (that’s entre nous),
But I did like Obama— oh boy, what a charmer!
Michelle was a cool kitty, too.
Whichever lot win, whoever gets in
I keep shtummo and don’t dish the dirt;
Labour or Tory, it’s all hunky-dory —
This job is a cinch — and a cert!
No. 3010: monster mash-up
In memory of the late great George Romero, and taking as your inspiration Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you are invited to provide an extract from a mash-up of a literary classic of your choice and horror fiction. Please email, wherever possible, entries of up to 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 2 August, providing a word count at the end of your entry.