Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Grave thoughts

Spectator competition winners: Grave thoughts
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In Competition No. 3139 you were invited to submit a four-line verse epitaph for a well-known person, living or dead.

There was lots of waspish wit on show this week, often deployed at the expense of our elected representatives. Many entries ran along similar lines to this one, from Steve Baldock, though not all of them took the Donald as their subject:





It wasn’t just politicians under the spotlight. Some competitors turned their attention closer to home. Here’s Philip Machin:

They laid awaiting her critique,

Upon her desk arrayed,

The myriad entries, strong and weak,

That Lucy’s eyes surveyed.

And Jeremy Harris:

Basil ran some diverse rhymes,

In the Speccie, many times,

Now Basil’s earthly race is run,

Lucy’s comps will be less fun.

On a more cheery note, honourable mentions go to Frank Upton and David Shields and the winners are rewarded with £9 per epitaph printed. Leading the pack is Basil Ransome-Davies, still very much with us.

He went the way he would have wished,

Talking bollocks, slightly pished,

Patriotic, loud and barmy,

Leader of a phantom army.

Basil Ransome-Davies/Nigel Farage
If you hear from below the faint gnashing of teeth

Or a corpse wildly spinning, it’s only Lord Reith.

He was once, like his BBC, proud and austere

But has heard his poor Auntie is joining him here.

Adrian Fry
Jeffrey Epstein, pudding and pie,

Kissed the girls and made them cry;

Strangled in his prison cell,

Jeffrey Epstein burns in Hell.

Douglas G. Brown
Rosa Parks, since she would not

Yield her seat, became a star.

Sometimes you can do a lot

Just by staying where you are.


Died in


After which his talent suffered a marked decline.

Max Gutmann
He vanquished all his enemies, and yet

When he said ‘Death, be gone!’ death answered Nyet.

Too much sugar, vodka, fat, and gluten

Did what the free world couldn’t: vanquished Putin.

Keats, the master of the ode,

now occupies his last abode,

a box that’s buried six-feet deep.

John, you do not wake, but sleep.

Robert Schechter
Sam Beckett lies

Beneath this sod;

His Endgame’s up,

He waits for God....

The co-founder of Microsoft

Has closed his program and logged off;

What future now for him awaits?

We hope it will be Pearly, Gates.

To remember Mr Eden,

All that you have to do is

To think of 1956

And simply whisper ‘Suez’.

Nicholas Hodgson
Here lies the empty grave of Gordon Sumner,

Who ne’er shall take that fateful, final breath.

Immortal Geordie! Wondrous Wallsend warbler!

As it is written: ‘Sting, where is thy death?’

David Silverman
They scooped a pickled brain from Einstein’s head;

he’d proved that news goes at the speed of light;

the spider-men of Vega know he’s dead,

but folks round Algol think he’s still all right.

Nick MacKinnon
Hugh’s life was about getting laid,

And here he’s laid to rest.

Gaia, the ultimate Playmate,

Takes Hefner to her breast.

Chris O’Carroll
For rallying all

Did Raleigh fall!

He lost his head

And now is dead.

Alan Millard
Ogden Nash

Wrote with verve and dash

Short lines and also incredibly long ones sometimes

With odd rhymes.

Jerome Betts
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Lewis Carroll,

Fantasy-forging mathematician,

Possibly once above suspicion;

Nowadays you’d be over a barrel.

Mike Morrison
Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,

Death comes to all, plebeians, merchants, doges.

His legacy, some verse of lasting worth;

His grave, a place of tribute in Stoke Poges.

Philip Machin

No. 3142: with added spice

You are invited to submit a review from Tripadvisor spiced up by a number of misprints. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 25 March.