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In Competition No. 2388 you were invited to offer a poem expressing aversion to an object or person popularly regarded as picturesque.

Is it ironical, a fool enigma,

This sunset show?...

Is it a mammoth joke?...

These unconventional lines were written when Victoria was on the throne by T.E. Brown, best known as the author of that soppy piece ‘A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!’ Your abominations ranged far and wide — teddy bears, fluffy yellow chicks, Paris in the springtime, Princess Diana.... Mary Holtby saw the robin as ‘a Machiavellian vermicide’ and for D.H. Prince a rose was ‘only a bloody rose’. The prizewinners are printed below. Gerda Mayer gets £30 for her baby-bashing piece, the others have £25 each.

I look at them, if look I must:

I view them with benign disgust.

I see them with disguised dismay;

And do I covet them? No way!

My own would have improved the nation.

Yours makes for over-population.

Parental Pride, do not suppose

I like them much beyond their toes.

I very cheerfully dispense

With whiffs of their incontinence.

Have they a sex? The only clues

Are pukey pinks and bilious blues.

Here’s Baby, whey-and-pudding-faced,

Uncalled-for proof that you’ve embraced.

For every Jack, for every Janet,

Commiserations, luckless Planet!

Gerda Mayer

That time of year when buds appear

We’re bound to hear all people shrill

Their glad refrain, in sickly strain:

‘It’s here again — the daffodil!’

So what? You sprout; you wave about

Your ugly snout from side to side:

Your coy advance, your winsome glance

And floppy dance I can’t abide.

Why be so keen to deck the scene

With spikes of green and bilious face?

And yuck! How strong your noxious pong

That lingers long in every place.

Look, Wordsworth’s dead; he’s never read,

So bend your head and face the kill.

O worthless trash, with one swift bash

I’ve come to smash you, daffodil!

Godfrey Bullard

A garden is a lovesome thing

To look at, but, alas, come spring,

With broken rustic garden tools,

Mosquitoes breeding in the pools,

Armies of aphids, thrips and bugs,

Ants, locusts, killer bees and slugs,

The foully reeking funeral pyres,

The mower jammed on tangled wires,

Discarded, rotting tennis balls,

And dangerous, leaning, crumbling walls,

Exotic plants, foredoomed to die

When chip-consuming passers-by

Hurl greasy papers through the fence,

The weeds advancing, lush and dense,

A small, dejected, headless gnome,

No vision this for Ideal Home!

Shirley Curran

I hate the stuff: it’s only straw

For rooks to rob and rats to gnaw,

It rots in rain, traps airborne seeds,

Turns green with mildew, moss and weeds;

It creaks, it leaks, it sags, it flops,

And, hours after storms, drips drops;

It harbours lice and mice and mould

And festers as it fades from gold

To something neither rich nor rare

But nondescript, like mousy hair;

It reeks of musty, fusty hay

And costs a bomb to trim and lay,

Yet still its image reigns supreme

As every couple’s rural dream.

Not mine! I’d gladly put a match

To any cottage crowned with thatch!

Alan Millard

Oh woolly lambkin

Brisk and gay,

I do so wish

You’d go away!

Your silly bleating

Drives me wild —

It calls to mind

A sickly child.

I see you skipping

On the grass,

And always long

To kick your arse.

But hellish though I

Find your face,

You’re heaven-sent

When I say grace!

John C.H. Mounsey

From Zanzibar to the Aleutians

Mountains are a confounded nuisance.

Who wants them there? At best they check

Your path, at worst they break your neck.

By forcing you to zig and zag

They make a tortoise of your Jag.

Wordsworth, who revelled in a climb

And at the top exclaimed, ‘Sublime!’

Started that Learn-from-Nature guff

Of which by now we’ve had enough.

There still are fools who never rest

Till they have ‘conquered’ Everest,

But wise men draw much nearer heaven

Safe in a Boeing 747.

Mount Fuji on a chocolate box

Can stay there — just give me the chocs.

Ray Kelley

No. 2391: Telly horrors

‘He Says She Says: Celebrities including Jenny