Lucy Vickery

Mark making

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In Competition No. 2988 you were invited to compose a poem making the case for a national commemoration day for a person or thing of your choice.

While Alanna Blake championed the dandelion, there were also impassioned calls for days that high-five Thomas Crapper, Doris Day and the tent. I, for one, would happily celebrate a Tom Waits day with Adrian Fry. The winners below take £25 each. Bill Greenwell pockets £30.

Bring us the day of the dodo,

The day of the passenger pigeon,

That their memories never corrode, oh

Let’s cheer them, and more than a smidgen:

Let’s praise those whose very long luck

Receded to zilch and to zippo:=

The quagga, the Amsterdam duck,

The bluebuck, the tiny dwarf hippo,

The great auk they killed on St Kilda,

The red rail, and slim Wimmer’s shrew,

All dead for a ducat, a guilder,

Like the broad-faced and pale potoroo.

Though the gracile opossum’s extinct,

Let us sift our remembrance’s urn:

All creatures’ misfortunes are linked —

Don’t forget. It could soon be our turn.

Bill Greenwell

Please let there be just once a year

A day when gods have vanished,

When things are seen as they appear

And heaven has been banished.

And on that day let every bell

Be tolled for US alone,

A day we wish each other well

And ghosts of gods have gone.

Then let us praise the minds of those

Who burned in cause of science,

The heretics whose conscience chose

A statement of defiance.

And if they must let people pray

That in the years to be

Not one, but every single day,

Will come as heaven free.

Frank McDonald

We burn Guy Fawkes on bonfire night

Because he hatched a plot.

Yet many think that he was right

(Though many others not.)

So let us choose to burn instead

A chap, we won’t say who,

That everyone thinks better dead,

Except his motley crew.

A scarecrow we will stuff with straw

To represent this person,

Since nobody, in peace or war,

Could prove to be a worse ’un,

And we will execrate the same,

Who sold his soul for cash,

Giving his body to the flame,

Till it be turned to ash.

John Whitworth

Two centuries ago the birth occurred

Of one whom we must really not forget.

London would be a single steaming word

But for Sir Joseph William Bazalgette.

Kings, politicians, matter not a bit,

Nor all celebrities of newer age.

London would be up to its neck in it

But for Joe’s great Victorian sewerage.

On Bazal-Day, then, each convenience

Must make their services completely free,

And save a grateful populace expense,

Where one pee can cost up to 50p.

So here’s the declaration of intent:

We need a special day for Bazalgette,

Who did his best to shift the excrement

Through sewage systems which are working yet.

Brian Murdoch

This day is called the Feast of Tony Blair.

He that outlives this day and holds his seat

Will stand a-blushing when this day is named

And blench him at the name of Tony Blair.

He that shall vote this day and live t’old age

Will yearly on the vigil dodge his neighbours

And say, ‘Tomorrow is not Tony Blair’s?’

Then will he duck the Press and hide his part

And say, ‘These deeds I did on Blair’s orders.’

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember, with apologies,

What flights he fled that day. Then shall these names,

As soft soap in his mouth as household brands —

Tony the Mad, Bradshaw of Exeter,

Jack Straw and Amos, Hoon and Reid the cur —

Be in their guilty cups, rarely remembered.

Nigel Stuart

Let’s remember the ‘bigoted woman’;

who put Gordon Brown in his place,

harangued him on policy issues

and left him with egg on his face.

We’ll treasure that unguarded moment

when Gordon, revealing his views,

was broadcast in full to the nation

in time for the six o’clock news.

And the woman from Rochdale declaring

the man in the street has a voice

and that no one’s immune from a roasting —

an occasion for all to rejoice!

So let’s mark the encounter with bunting,

hold rallies and sing a reprise

to honour the ‘bigoted woman’

who brought the PM to his knees.

Sylvia Fairley

No. 2991: these foolish things

The BBC once marked April Fool’s Day with a report on the Today programme that evidence had emerged that Shakespeare was French. You are invited to submit an April Fool disguised as a serious news feature that contains a startling revelation about a well-known literary figure, alive or dead. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 22 March.