In Competition No. 2910 you were invited to submit a poem by a pet who is cheesed off with its owner.
The contempt in Basil Ransome-Davies’s closing couplet, written from the perspective of a bolshie moggy, was echoed throughout the entry by a hacked-off parade of bullied, misunderstood and condescended-to pets:
He wants affection, he can kiss a duck.
It’s what my mother told me: bipeds suck.
I especially liked Sylvia Fairley’s homicidal preying mantis and Bill Greenwell’s scheming goldfish. Equally impressive were Hugh King, John Priestland, George Tetley, John-Paul Marney and Dave East, who were unlucky to miss out on a place in the winning line-up.
Those entries printed below earn their authors £25 apiece. This week’s top dog is Martin Parker. He gets £30.
I’m a goldfish who’s dejected
that my habitat’s infected
and is neither fit to swim in nor to drink.
And I think my owner oughta
come and change my stagnant water
which is so full of detritus
that I’m blinded and I might as
well be swimming round in pea soup or in ink.
For it’s hard to find my way round
in my pitch-black piscine playground
without damage from the mini clockwork shark
and the sharply-pointed anchor
plus the jagged plastic tanker,
and — enough to make you clench your
cheeks — my owner’s upper denture
glowing ghostly phosphorescent in the dark.
I’ve few complaints, for goodness sake,
For you know how to treat a snake.
You keep me warm, you keep me fed,
And yet there’s something must be said:
Each day, all day, I lie here curled
And never see the wider world,
In which there are, or so I hear
Poor twerps whom I’d strike daft with fear —
Ophidophobes! I have this dream
In which folks tremble, gibber, scream
And scarper at the sight of me —
Oh I’d enjoy it, horribly,
Maybe in Waitrose checkout queue?
Now, wouldn’t that appeal to you?
I’m sure you see the sense of this.