Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: cheerful poems for 2023 after Tennyson

‘Ring out the old, ring in the new,/ Ring, happy bells, across the snow…’ [The Granger Collection / Alamy Stock Photo]

In Competition No. 3281, you were invited to provide 16 lines of cheerful welcome to 2023 in the metre of Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam’. ‘Ring out the old, ring in the new,’ wrote the poet in ‘Ring out, wild bells’, part of ‘In Memoriam’. Hats off to all: it was a terrific entry – cheery but with the occasional gratifying sting in the tail. The winners take £25.

Ring out wild bells for ’23,
    Forget the country’s woeful state:
   With luck, inflation will deflate,
In time we’ll all be Covid-free.

Ring out the old, ring in the new
    As PMs come and PMs go,
    Though all is blue, the wind may blow –
Bring changes of a different hue.

The bells will ring when Charles is crowned,
   We’ll have an extra holiday,
    The sun will shine, we’re making hay,
No thoughts of the depleted pound.

And, just restored, we’ll hear Big Ben –
    Its face of gold and Prussian blue
   And tower equipped with lift and loo –
Ring in the New Year once again!

Sylvia Fairley

This year we shall take back control:
ignite the bonfires of red tape!
An après-Brexit realm takes shape
of custard creams and Dover sole.

Her pints of beer are full of hops,
her sausages are good to go.
As sunny uplands bloom and grow
the bent bananas fill the shops.

Their metric system is kaput
and road signs once again show miles.
Great British men are wreathed in smiles
for five feet ten remains six foot.

The unicorn and lion prance
on navy passports stark and stiff,
and from the crown of Shakespeare’s cliff
we’ll flaunt them at diminished France.

Nick MacKinnon

Sing in the year with cheerful voice,
Its days are fresh, its nights also;
With eyes alight and cheeks aglow
Sing up, that being the hopeful choice.

Drown out the angst the newsmen sell,
Though plague and war may yet abide,
Your song will prove men can decide
To strive with heart to make all well.

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