Lucy Vickery

Best foot forward

Text settings
Comments

In Competition No. 3029 you were invited to provide a new year’s resolution (or more than one) in verse.

Woody Guthrie’s 1943 ‘new years rulin’s’ have considerable charm: ‘Dont get lonesome; stay glad; dream good; shine shoes; wash teeth if any…’ But perhaps it was Nietzsche who inspired Basil Ransome-Davies’s entry. In 1882, he resolved to become a yes-man: ‘I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers… I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!’

David Silverman’s spin on Thomas Hood’s ‘No!’ was nice. Alanna Blake, George Simmers and Nicholas Stone also impressed in a strong field. The winners below earn £25 each. Happy New Year!

Winter breathes hope, and not of spring alone.

Ergo, my resolution is to be

A newborn optimist — no more for me

Recrimination, fear or that sour tone

Envious lefties put on to disown

And scorn our heritage so viciously.

Let me commit to Britain, proud and free,

Loyal and chin-up, British to the bone.

Despite Remainers’ carping I feel sure

Of future benefits beyond compare.

Our splendid isolation bids to win

More profit than belonging could procure.

Excessive questioning incites despair;

Doubt is the treacherous enemy within.

Basil Ransome-Davies

This is the year I’ll live my dream.

I’ll sail a cardboard quinquereme

Across the waters of the Humber.

I’ll teach a sheep to dance the rumba.

I’ll paint my genitals magenta

And be an acid rock presenter.

I’ll build an igloo out of piss

And live inside the edifice.

I’ll put the hamster through the blender

And burn my neighbour’s hacienda

To build a pyramid of ash.

All this I will not do for cash

But for the kind of modern art

That oversets the applecart.

So it will come as no surprise

When I obtain the Turner Prize.

John Whitworth

When the nights are filled with storm

When the rain assaults the eaves

Or when the sun dries up the corn

And burns the local stooks and sheaves

When the snowmageddon ploughs

Conk out on the carriageways

When wind rips off the boughs

When caught out by fog or haze

When the crops begin to fail

When the rivers burst with mud

When we take our broken pails

To the standpipes in the flood

And though I may be tempted hard

By tabloid fonts that yell together

From my lips let there be barred

The subject of inclement weather.

Bill Greenwell

May I, in the coming year,

find ways to overcome my fear

of living for twelve months once more

the same life that I lived before

and feeling I must list my flaws

and deal with them in new-made laws

to take effect on New Year’s Day.

Rather, I resolve to stay

the person I already am

while trying not to give a damn

it’s not exactly who I’d be

if I could choose a different me.

Isn’t life to be enjoyed?

And so this year I will avoid

all promises that may involve

determination or resolve.

Robert Schechter

It came to me the other night,

My new year resolution:

Pursue a pastime recondite,

Become a Rosicrucian!

I love the mystique that attends

Arcane fraternities,

Debunks, refreshingly upends

Cliché modernities.

The ancients’ boundless knowledge,

Far superior to ours,

Was not acquired at college

But by studying the stars.

Such were their skills, they could transmute

Base metal into gold;

Now Bitcoin, suspect substitute,

Exerts its stranglehold.

Mike Morrison

My New Year resolutions may seem strange,

But here they are: there’ll be no pussy-grabbing,

No rabid snarling like a dog with mange,

No whining and no incoherent blabbing,

No spiteful tweets, no tantrums, and no lies,

No golfing trips — I’ll buckle down to work,

And if my enemies should criticise,

I’ll do my utmost not to go berserk;

No fictive claims about Obama’s birth;

No childish insults hurled at heads of state;

I’ll combat climate change to save the Earth,

And hope it’s not already far too late.

I’m glad you like my plan… What’s that you say?

‘Gee, thank you, Mr President!’ You chump!

You’re quite mistaken. Get this straight, okay?

I’m Brian Allgar, not that moron Trump!

Brian Allgar

No. 3032: documentary

You are invited to provide a poem about passports. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 17 January.