In Competition No. 2373 you were given Gilbert’s line ‘A policeman’s lot is not a happy one’, and asked for a poem beginning the same way but with some other worker replacing ‘policeman’ and (if you like) using ‘lot’ again for ‘one’.
Unhappy is the lot of the comper and competition-setter, of course, but I was impressed by the range of your other unfortunate toilers — gorillagram-deliverers, apostles, toddlers, wheel-clampers, goalies, newsreaders, pedants, backbenchers, porn stars and greengrocers (spelling problems). God bless us every one, as Tiny Tim said. The prizewinners, printed below, get £25 each, and the Cobra Premium beer goes to Martin Parker.A poet’s lot is not a happy one,As he tries to make a living from his verse.There’s no recognition, income, fame or fun,For his chance of publication can’t be worse.Too few publishers will help a living poetBy enabling him to get his new work read.Though the sods may like his work they seldom show it;They much prefer their poets to be dead.It’s the late ones who bring in vast sums of money.You can earn a better living once you’re dead.For the struggling current poet it’s not funnyThat it’s corpses who are earning all the bread.So to make ends meet what I should now be doingIs to buy a knife and go and cut my throat.Then my royalties will surely start accruingWhen they posthumously publish what I wrote.Martin Parker
A fisherman’s lot is not a happy one,As the EU cuts his quota, ton by ton,For the stocks of fish are fallingIn a manner so appallingThat if action isn’t taken, there’ll be none.A fisherman’s life is getting very fraught,For French and Spanish craft of every sortCome and sweep the ocean floorTill there won’t be any more,No, there won’t be any fishes to be caught.soon they won’t be fishing in the sea,For it seems the Royal CommissionIs going to stop them fishingIn the places where the fishes used to be, used to be,In the places where the fishes ought to be.Tim Raikes
A performer’s lot is not a happy one.You start in boyhood with a wild ambitionTo reach, as all celebrities have done,Some splendidly pre-eminent position.You dedicate yourself to years of sweat,Determined by this drudgery to nourishYour very special talents, till they getThe light of recognition — and can flourish!And then suddenly you’re sixty, not so agileIn the physical requirements of a part,While your memory’s embarrassingly fragileWhen it comes to learning speeches off by heart.But so long as such rewarding roles are writtenAs Man In Pub, Third Waiter, Gormless Friend,That awful yen with which you first were smittenWill keep you acting to the bitter end!Godfrey Bullard
A liftman’s lot is not a happy one:To be trapped inside a boxSmelling other people’s socksFrom dawn to dusk is not exactly fun.It’s a frantic, up-and-down job in the main:One moment elevationTo a high, exalted station,Then a drop towards rock bottom once again.
The liftman must, at all times, know his placeAnd announce the different floors —‘Level seven, mind the doors!Going up (or down),’ as best befits the case.
And when, at last, the liftman’s day is doneWill anyone at allRue the rapid rise and fallOf the man whose lot was not a happy one?Alan Millard
A tourist’s lot is not a happy one:You think you’ve bought a bit of sand and sun,But the operator’s hourisHave orders that your tour isA chance to sell you lots of extra fun.
So, since you’re not a chap to make a fuss,Each day that dawns you’re climbing on a busTo visit sad locationsAnd ogle rock formations,With sangria (lukewarm) the only plus.Your via dolorosa not yet run,A night of ethnic culture must be done,But the culture that you findIs rather of a kindTo have old Goering reaching for his gun.No, a tourist’s lot is not a happy one.Noel Petty
A hooker’s lot is not a happy one;One can’t pretend that it’s a life of leisure.To be forever on the job’s no fun,And what, pray, does a doxy do for pleasure?She sits at home and reads improving booksLike Smiles’s Self-Help, Character or Duty —Distractions from the thought of ravaged looksAnd what were once the lineaments of beauty.All men of decency should therefore feelA pang of pity for the ageing strumpetStill marketing her tenuous sex appeal,Her tea, her sympathy, her piece of crumpet.What motivates the craft of the cocotte?A sense of public duty, one supposes.And so I say again, the hooker’s lotIs very far from being a bed of roses.Jeremy Lawrence
No. 2376: My first
First kiss? First job? First crime? You are invited to describe autobiographically or quasi-autobiographically a memorable ‘first’ in your life. Maximum 150 words. Entries to ‘Competition No. 2376’ by 20 January.