Lucy Vickery

Just the job

Lucy Vickery presents the latest Competition

In Competition No. 2537 you were invited to submit a poem entitled ‘The Song of the Chartered Accountant’. You were allowed to substitute an alternative profession.
I interpreted the word ‘profession’ loosely and was tempted by Mike Morrison’s personal shopper and touched by Martin Parker’s sexually frustrated retired flea-circus trainer, though they didn’t make the final line-up in the end.

Chartered accountants are traditionally described in shades of grey, and many of you went down that route. But leading the field this week is Basil Ransome-Davies, who gets the bonus fiver. I was won over by his portrayal of a pin-striped-suited wage slave’s hot-blooded alter ego. D.A. Prince’s bilious librarian’s contempt for the low-brow taste of her customers was also refreshingly off the beaten track, and she gets £25, along with the other worthy winners, printed below. It was a strong entry and commendations go to Mary Holtby, John Whitworth, Alanna Blake and Shirley Curran.

My occupation is a joke
For those who like to sneer.
I’m pictured as a boring bloke —
Inhibited, austere.


True, in my subfusc suit and specs
I look a timid soul,
But after five o’clock it’s sex
And drugs and rock’n’roll


By day I study balance sheets,
A neutral, cool machine,
But later what libido heats
The sheets I get between.


Behind professional façades
The deathless Id survives;
Our outward routines are charades
That mask our inner lives.
Basil Ransome-Davies



The Council halves my budget: still, I smile
To show the public Culture’s welcoming face,
And how we’re Good For Them. It’s not our style
To show discrimination — age, sex, race.


But when we lock the doors I drop that mask.
Odi profanum vulgus. Bloody plebs.
Rude semi-literates who only ask
For books on cooking, decor or celebs —


Or DVDs of pornographic trash.
All the Returns stink of their grubby fags.
We’ve piles of Jeffrey Archers flecked with ash,
Dribbled with lager, stale as plastic bags.


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