Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition: invent a meaningless proverb

The latest competition, in which you were invited to compose a poem celebrating a famous duo, produced a colourful cast of pairings. Ray Kelley sang the praises of Flanders and Swann: ‘Never was there a sweeter fit/ of wit to melody, melody to wit’. Brian Allgar proposed a toast to that gruesome twosome Burke and Hare. And Martin Parker saluted south London kings of retail Arding and Hobbs: ‘Posh Knightsbridge had Harrods for nabobs and nobs./ The folks down at Clapham had Arding and Hobbs.’

Hugh King was impressive, as were Michael Swan and Alanna Blake, but they were edged out by this week’s overall champ, Chris O’Carroll, who takes £35, and his fellow winners, who pocket £30 apiece.

I was sad to hear of the death of Gerard Benson, a frequent winner of this competition over many years. His witty and accomplished contributions will be much missed.

Chris O’Carroll
In Tweedledum and Tweedledee,
Those icons of propinquity,
Those paragons of amity,
We see what brotherhood should be.

Observe their conduct vis-à-vis
A battle. Note that they agree
To fight, but Dum does not harm Dee
Nor get from him an injury.

They speak of felling every tree
In their conflict’s vicinity,
But deal in no un-brotherly
Displays of bellicosity,

And when by serendipity
A crow appears, as one they flee.
Than valiant foes they’d rather be
Harmoniously cowardly.

Bill Greenwell
Peter was tall and talked in a drawl,
His characters expert or haughty,
While Dudley was bubbly and chuckling and
(The piano was known as his forte.)

Pete on the whole was surreal and droll
While Dud, as his stooge, often cracked –
Pete would spin language and Dud would spit
That was the gist of their act.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in