Lucy Vickery

It’s a rap

In Competition No. 2876 you were invited to submit an example of an ill-advised foray by a poet laureate, past or present, into rap.

Andrew Motion’s ‘rap’, written to mark Prince William’s 21st birthday, featured in a Telegraph piece by Charlotte Runcie on the worst poems by great writers and elicited such withering comments on the BBC website as, ‘Is that rap with a silent “c”, then?’ and ‘It’s my Dad saying “hey, cool man!” over and over again.’

Bill Greenwell’s rapping John Betjeman takes the extra fiver this week. Betjeman has form. On his delightful 1974 album Banana Blush he read his poetry against a backdrop of music by Jim Parker. John Peel was a fan and ‘A Shropshire Lad’ was named single of the week by NME.

The other winners take £30 apiece. Matt Quinn was good, but missed the deadline. This was a difficult one, so congratulations all round.

When it retro in Metroland, it dub in da suburbs,
It priceless in Ruislip, yo wid fish dish en croute,
Or hab dinner in Pinner, or grub where dey rub herbs
On da chicken in brick, wid inscrutable fruit —
And it retro in Metroland, it da Buckingham ducks
Yo wid sleek glossy beaks on da pond over yonder,
Or Amersham ham, or da chukka wid pucks
Wid da ladies down from Hurlingham, Amanda and Wanda —
Now it retro in Metroland, where dey nurture da birches,
Where da half-timbered limber up, joshin at squash,
Or brood over roods yo and purchasin old churches,
And da chuffas hit da buffas, and da posh hab da dosh —
Yo it retro in Metroland where da kudos house be Tudor,
And da bitches wear da britches, wid a racquet dey smack it,
And dey all be good in Chorleywood, and da dudes be ruder,
Wid respect fo architecture, wid a packet yo can hack it.

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