In Competition No. 2990 you were invited to submit a poem of 16 lines in which the lines begin with the letters of the alphabet from A to P.
This one proved to be a real crowd-pleaser, attracting not only the regulars but many welcome new faces too. You were at your witty and inventive best, and I offer commiserations to a long list of unlucky losers: Sylvia Fairley, Paul Evans, A.K. Colam, Martin Eayrs, Nigel Stuart, Ralph Rochester and Brian Allgar. Class swot Bill Greenwell, who gave himself an additional challenge by ending each line of his poem with the letters K to Z, earns a gold star.
The prizewinners, printed below, are rewarded with £25 each. Basil Ransome-Davies scoops the extra fiver.
All poets lie, Pascal implied;
But that’s their very game.
Chaucer was one who lied and lied,
Dryden much the same.
Eliot wouldn’t know the truth
From Ezra Pound’s backside.
Gray went to Eton in his youth;
He eloquently lied.
If Wild Walt Whitman’s big I Am
Just takes you for a ride,
Kid, never mind. It’s all a scam.
Like Tennyson, he lied.
Milton told tales, but for which side?
Nobody seems to know it.
O bards, what guilty truths you hide.
Praise god, I’m not a poet.
Alfred Lord Tennyson gave us a benison:
Bedivere tending to Arthur his king.
Coleridge managed to write about Xanadu,
Domes full of pleasure and Alph’s sacred spring.
Edward Fitzgerald was Omar’s great herald,
Fashioning fingers that wrote and moved on.
Gray got his elegy in every anthology,
Holding a candle for those that have gone.
In Shakespeare the sonnet had honour heaped on it,
Just like his plays that were better than best.
Keats gave us odes in which poetry explodes,
Letting him live though he’s long gone to rest.
Milton was blind and was one of a kind,
Nearing his maker in ‘Paradise Lost’.
Others there are who were destined to star,
Poets of perfection, a heavenly host.
curses his eminence,
dazed and beguiled.