The invitation to submit a disgustingly flattering poem in heroic couplets in praise of a contemporary person of power saw you at your bootlicking best: Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin were all on the receiving end of some serious sucking-up. Bill Greenwell’s tribute to Justin Trudeau caught my eye: ‘When all around you, everyone’s a pseudo,/ How gracefully you rise, dear Justin Trudeau...’. As did David Silverman’s love letter to Kim Jong-Un: ‘How do you solve a problem like Korea?/ Ask Kim Jong-un, he’s sure to make it clear.’ Closer to home, Alan Millard and John Whitworth lavished praise on little old me: ‘Our brows adorned with true poetic sweat./ Sweet Lucy, we are ever in your debt!’
Other masterclasses in sycophancy came courtesy of A.K. Colam, S. O’Shea, Joe Conlon and Joe Houlihan. The winners earn £25 each and Hugh King takes the extra five pounds.
Not even Charlemagne, when at his height,
Could match your grandeur, majesty and might.
The Holy Roman Empire sought in vain
The splendour and extent of your domain.
From Padua to Plonsk and Pontypool
Eight hundred million souls enjoy your rule.
Yet poor, benighted Brits will not receive
Your masterly direction when they leave.
You’re famed for your urbanity and charm,
And only bitter cynics call it smarm.
Your clever leaks made Mrs May a clown:
What fun to kick a person when she’s down!
When Dave, before the referendum, said
He needed help, you smiled and shook your head.
And now the Brexit poo will hit the punkah
While you look on serenely, Jean-Claude Juncker.
With warmth and brilliance in his nature one
He shines upon us like a human Sun:
There is no Heart his radiance cannot reach,
No Mind resistant to his ardent speech;
Fire burns within him like a flaming brand
First sparked by Fidel then by Hugo fanned;
Ignited from that fire the torch he bears
In these benighted times more brightly flares;
From his iron grip it never shall be wrenched,
Nor shall its beacon blaze be ever quenched.
Proud to lead, yet humble in his pride,
He marches on with History at his side:
Man of the People and the People’s Man,
Theirs faith unbounded, his the glorious Plan;
His 2020 vision may come late
But God-like, he’ll create a perfect State.
If there is one pure light amidst the fog
Of vulgar acts and speech it is Rees-Mogg.
He is a gentleman in every way,
In dress, in speech, as from another day.
His manners are sublime, his wit is keen,
His shoes are always polished to a sheen,
Across his brow his hair immaculate
No quiff or curl to mar its pristine state.
When all around him loudly disagree
His voice is one of ordered sanity,
So powerful yet modest in its tone
It could calm down a rabble on its own.
Rees-Mogg, you are the saviour of our race
When you in time will take the leader’s place
Then we shall live in safe prosperity.
Hail to your sober sensibility!
The fingertips of dawn enflame his hair;
An orange glow, as if Aurora’s flair
Wrings day from night; behold, a man of men
Who’ll make our doughty nation great again.
A connoisseur of pageantry and pomp,
He’ll build a mighty wall and drain the swamp;
Bad hombres, crooked bureaucrats — watch out!
A hero’s here, his mind and body stout.
This rusty-hided, pugilistic bear,
Abandoning his plush Manhattan lair,
Hath smote fake news and Democratic mobs
While pledging health, and wealth and steady jobs.
In time I’ll pen a biographic tome
In honour of his feats abroad and home.
So raise a glass, let’s toast the moment when
Our saviour makes the nation great again.
Great Prince, and even greater soon to be,
O’er myriad spheres you hold supremacy:
Your sage opinions and advice enhance.
Our architecture, public health, finance.
Your hands-on expertise in rural farming
Is proof that you are more than just Prince
While skilled promotion of the Duchy Brand
Reveals another skill at your command.
How well you bear the weighty royal yoke
Yet live as simply as we common folk,
You’re the epitome of majesty
Combined with self-effacing modesty.
Yours is the noble, moving, much-loved voice,
In awe, we watch you, hear you, and rejoice.
We long to see you come into your own,
Fulfil your promise on Britannia’s throne.
This man bestrides the narrow world and booms
Words that can waken corpses from their tombs;
He little cares for what the fearful think
And rises strong where lesser mortals sink.
He is no slave to foolish adulation
But bravely battles to defend his nation
And like a king sits on a powerful throne
Placing all states inferior to his own.
His wisdom is the legacy of years
Gained through experience of toil and tears;
A second Churchill, fearless and defiant,
He leads his country like a matchless giant
And having confidence in his convictions
He wins his wars, confounding all predictions.
God-fearing, glorious, great in every way
Trump is the true Messiah of today.
Your next challenge is to submit a love poem written by one contemporary politician to another. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 30 August.