In Competition No. 2424 you were invited to write a poem naming in each line a startling event which will occur during each month this year, ending with a four-line glimpse of the more distant future.

‘Fasten your seatbelts’ was the consensus. I shall gag myself to make space for the winners, pausing only to mention Adrian Fry’s prediction (optimistic or pessimistic?) that this month will see the Queen’s limericks published in the Times. The prize-takers, printed below, get £25 each, and W.J. Webster nabs the bonus fiver. Thank you, the person who sent me a Christmas card.

Jigsaw puzzles take the world by storm;
Forswearing f-words now becomes the norm;
Mandarin graffiti mark the moon;
A sudden, silent darkness falls at noon;
Mont Blanc’s internal staircase is revealed;
Jet engines used to dry a cricket field;
Jules Rimet’s cup is filled with blood and tears;
Australians vote to have a House of Peers;
Saddam Hussein says, ‘I deserve my fate’;
Oyster beds dam up the River Plate;
No smoking ban brings back the use of snuff;
Directors state they’re paid quite well enough.
Mid-air collisions curb the growth in flights;
Mercy-culling plugs the pension gap;
Viruses are granted natural rights;
Infinity is plotted on a map.
W.J. Webster

In January Ant and Dec elope.
In February Kensington explodes.
In March expect a black transvestite Pope,
While April means extensive showers of toads.
May is the month when Scunthorpe win the Cup
And June the one when Di comes back to life.
July’s big story: Germaine Greer shuts up.
In August fear of watercress is rife.
September? France invades the Isle of Wight.
October brings a law to ban mah-jong.
World peace throughout November spreads delight,
But in December everything goes wrong.
The years and decades pass …the powers of old
Fall victim to the multifarious ills
Of sin and decadence …the times unfold
Of piety and iron, as Allah wills.
Basil Ransome-Davies

In Jan.

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