Lucy Vickery

A new Jerusalem

Text settings

In Competition No. 3060 you were invited to provide an updated version of ‘Jerusalem’ starting with the words ‘And did those tweets…’One of my favourite parodies of Blake’s poem is by Allan M. Laing. In it he describes the wartime blackouts:

Bring me my torch of waning power!

Bring me my phosphor button bright!

Bring me my stick — O, dreadful hour!

That brings the darkness of the night!

Laing was a colossus of literary competitions and his successors — veterans and newcomers alike — continue to shine in these pages. In a crowded and lively field this week, honourable mentions go to Nicholas Stone, David Silverman, Brian Murdoch, Ian Barker and Nick Vasey. The winners, printed below, are rewarded with £25 each.

And did those tweets of febrile Trump

Talk of a Brexit hard and clean?

And was the whole Remoaner rump

Still fearful of what Out might mean?

And did the crapulous Walloons

And Germans scoff from far away?

Well, we shall drink in Wetherspoons

Come Corbyn or, indeed, what May.

Bring us our pints of nut-brown ale!

Bring us the bar snacks we desire!

Bring us this day our Daily Mail,

Raising our spirits and our ire.

From Brexit rants we’ll not desist

Control long lost we will take back

We’ll be so drunk in Wetherspoons

That Europe will not want us back.

Adrian Fry

And did those tweets at voting time

Reach the deplorable and green:

And was the holy Russian bear

In US social media seen?

And did expedience malign,

Cause nascent fears to deepen still?

And was mass bitterness builded here,

Towards that dark satanic Hill?

Bring me the view ‘They’re all corrupt’;

Bring me the fortunes they acquire:

Bring me mistrust: O web erupt!

Bring me a candidate with fire!

He will not cease from mental spleen,

Nor shall his phone sleep in his hand:

Till he has drained Jerusalem,

And made a great, unpleasant land.

Paul Carpenter

And did those tweets I heard last night

Cause drowsy numbness and a pain,

Inspiring me to sit and write

An ode about a warbler’s strain?

Fetch me my paper and my pen

And ink to stain the waiting page

That I might fill the world of men

With stanzas to an avian sage.

I will not cease to pour out lines

Nor will my inspiration fail

Until I’ve let my soul’s designs

Immortalise my nightingale.

How favoured am I to have heard

Those heavenly nocturnal tweets!

I’ll eulogise that deathless bird

Or else my name is not John Keats.

Frank McDonald

And did those tweets in ancient time,

Do much to sway the Brexit poll?

Was Cambridge Analytica

The reason we’re stuck in this hole?

Or was the root of it more deep,

An incoherent bolshiness

That found its outlet in a vote,

So dumped us in this dreadful mess?

We must prepare for Brexit day,

Build up our stockpile of supplies.

Bring me sardines and sacks of rice

Bring me Fray Bentos chicken pies.

For though the vote was ill-informed,

The consequences will be real

As we lurch to dystopia,

The England of a grim no-deal.

George Simmers

And did those tweets from early birds,

All free and easy, neat and short,

Deceive us that this simple form

Should frame a pleasant, civil thought?

A vision clouded soon enough,

Its characters made play new roles,

When that first innocence was lost,

Corrupted by satanic trolls.

They hurl their barbs with poisoned tips,

Their threats obscene, their language vile;

Secure in pseudonymity,

They vomit out their boiling bile.

Untrammelled by some sense of shame,

They will not rest or stay their hand

Till they have built Yahoosalem

In England’s green-eyed twitterland.

W.J. Webster

And did those tweets consume the thoughts

Of millions with such brazen ease —

Although produced by twitterbots

(And people with the brains of fleas)?

And did they also cloud the truth

To stoke emotion savagely

And send us to the voting booth

Consumed with animosity?

Can they have led to grievous war?

Did leaders send their troops perhaps

To salve the feelings that grew sore

When threats were tweeted in ALL CAPS?

And had we, really, to endure

So many mindless tweeted words

Before we finally were sure

That tweets are truly for the birds?

Max Gutmann

No. 3063: pundemic

You are invited to provide a poem about puns that contains puns. Please email (where possible) entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 22 August.