In Competition No. 2905 you were invited to write a sonnet whose lines begin with the letters R,O,Y,G,B,I,V,V,I,B,G,Y,O,R, in that order.
Thanks to Frank McDonald for suggesting this gem of a competition. I ummed and ahed over what was a vast and accomplished entry trying to whittle it down to a winning seven. It wasn’t easy. Those that missed the cut — Bill Greenwell, Brian Allgar, John Whitworth, Adrienne Parker, Pippa Crawford, Priscilla Bench-Capon, David Silverman and Tim Raikes — did so by the narrowest of margins. Congratulations, all round.
The winners, printed below, are rewarded with £20 each. The bonus fiver goes to Alan Millard’s sonnet on the Labour leadership contenders.
Resolved, all four, to right the nation’s wrongs
On winning favour all their futures rest:
Yvette, with impish smile, for victory longs,
Grey Jeremy seeks power for the oppressed,
Brunette-haired Liz for wealth creation fights,
Immediate help for all is Andy’s dream;
Vaunting various talents, each invites
Votes for the leadership of Labour’s team;
Inevitably one of them will win
But we, desiring some alternative,
Grown weary of the politician’s spin,
Yearn earnestly for more than they can give.
Oh Lord, there being none on whom we dote,
Reveal to us who most deserves our vote!
Remorseless fate required my soul to flit
Out of time’s mists to end life’s weary game.
Youth was still mine when whispers of acclaim
Grew louder with each lyric. I would sit
Beguiled by fancy but my name was writ
In water and my autumn never came.
Verses I wrote seemed immature and lame.
Vainly I’d hoped to keep life’s candle lit.
I see now that the lines my boyhood penned
Bear autumn fruits. My nightingale sings on.
Greatness has met me like a long-lost friend
Years after all my suffering has gone.