In Competition No. 3077 you were invited to submit a sonnet with the name of a Shakespearean character hidden in each line
This one pulled in a bumper haul of entries, from old hands and newcomers alike. While some competitors described the challenge as ‘fun’, others greeted it with a squeal of horror. C. Paul Evans, for example: ‘The mother of all horrors, what a comp,/ A theme to turn my ashy locks to dust!…’
The shoehorning in of names occasionally led to some stilted lines, but there were bursts of remarkable fluency too. In an entry full of witty touches and clever flourishes, commendations go to David Silverman, Chris O’Carroll, Jan Snook and Julia Griffin; a prize of £20 belongs to each of those printed below.
In Machu Picchu and at other sites
We globetrotted, our future bright and clear,
Our love synonymous with life’s delights,
Devoid of anger, jealousy and fear.
No hurt could scar us, we were young and free.
Our youthful lust, white-hot, spurred our desire
Till smothered one foul night in Italy
That proved her a dissembler, an ace liar.
How artful were her wiles, her double-deal.
Though I thought her an angel on this earth,
Her vows of love were sham, letting me feel
A dupe cascading tears of bitter mirth.
So now our paths diverge, spider and fly;
In Rome our shameless fake romance will die.
We marched along the road, past an old mill,
Through a deserted hamlet, to the Line.
Now bleary-eyed, I looked at my pal Bill:
‘He can’t take any more.’ ‘No, he’ll be fine’,
Said Jack, ‘he only needs’ (sly wink) ‘a wench.
I tried that brothel: Lord, that mademoiselle=
Made me forget the lice-infested trench’,
(He belched) ‘A bit of heaven in this hell.