In Competition No. 2996 you were invited to submit an acrostic sonnet in which the first letters of each line spell AT THE SPECTATOR. You weren’t obliged to make the theme of your sonnet this magazine and its contributors but many of you did, to great effect. (The tone was mainly though not universally affectionate.)
Dorothy Pope, Joseph Houlihan, George Thomson and Paul A. Freeman deserve a special mention for eye-catching contributions, and the winners, printed below, pocket £25 each. W.J. Webster takes £30.
A nest of singing birds they may not be
(Too individual in the way they speak);
Their talents, though, make quite a company,
High-class performers writing week on week.
Essential reading is the Howse report,
So full and yet so elegantly spare;
Past perfect, too, where Peter Jones has caught
Examples of what we and ancients share.
Contrasting in their styles, like blade and axe,
The Moore and Liddle duo slice and chop,
As, leading from the front, Page 3 attacks
Those failings seen as starting from the top.
Our luck to have such pieces and much more
Reminding us what weeklies should be for.
‘Aha, but what is Truth?’ quoth Pontius Pilate.
‘Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth’ saith Keats —
There in every sunset, rose or violet;
Heard in every nightingale that tweets;
Every lark; in every rainbow’s hues —
So where do we find truth among the lies,
Prevarications, slanders and fake news,
Evasions, libels, wool pulled o’er our eyes,
Calumnies, deceit? Oh! Where to find
The sole remaining bastion of Truth?
At The Spectator! Dull he’d be and blind,
To miss this Light unto the nation’s youth!
On every page, the Truth is writ upon it,
Rightly praised in every winning sonnet.
Above all, in the topmost of the storeys,
The shrine is, where Charles Moore hymns Mrs T.
Then come three floors where young and busy Tories
Hammer out red-hot post-Brexit policy.
Expensive cocktails flow in Taki’s lair;
Steerpike and he here swap lubricious goss.