Lucy Vickery

Bowing and scraping

In Competition No. 3011 you were invited to submit a disgustingly flattering poem in heroic couplets in praise of a contemporary person of power.

You were at your bootlicking best this week: Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin were all on the receiving end of some serious sucking-up. Bill Greenwell’s tribute to Justin Trudeau caught my eye: ‘When all around you, everyone’s a pseudo,/ How gracefully you rise, dear Justin Trudeau…’. As did David Silverman’s love letter to Kim Jong-un: ‘How do you solve a problem like Korea?/ Ask Kim Jong-un, he’s sure to make it clear.’ Closer to home, Alan Millard and John Whitworth lavished praise on little old me: ‘Our brows adorned with true poetic sweat./ Sweet Lucy, we are ever in your debt!’

Other masterclasses in sycophancy came courtesy of A.K. Colam, S. O’Shea, Joe Conlon and Joe Houlihan. The winners earn £25 each. Hugh King takes the extra five pounds.

Not even Charlemagne, when at his height,

Could match your grandeur, majesty and might.

The Holy Roman Empire sought in vain

The splendour and extent of your domain.

From Padua to Plonsk and Pontypool

Eight hundred million souls enjoy your rule.

Yet poor, benighted Brits will not receive

Your masterly direction when they leave.

You’re famed for your urbanity and charm,

And only bitter cynics call it smarm.

Your clever leaks made Mrs May a clown:

What fun to kick a person when she’s down!

When Dave, before the referendum, said

He needed help, you smiled and shook your head.

And now the Brexit poo will hit the punkah

While you look on serenely, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Hugh King

With warmth and brilliance in his nature one

He shines upon us like a human Sun:

There is no Heart his radiance cannot reach,

No Mind resistant to his ardent speech;

Fire burns within him like a flaming brand

First sparked by Fidel then by Hugo fanned;

Ignited from that fire the torch he bears

In these benighted times more brightly flares;

From his iron grip it never shall be wrenched,

Nor shall its beacon blaze be ever quenched.

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