Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: odes on a Grayson Perry urn

For the latest competition you were invited to compose odes on a Grayson Perry urn. Jonathan Jones memorably described being in a roomful of Grayson Perry’s pots as ‘like being trapped in a room full of trendy folk talking bollocks’. Frank McDonald obviously agrees with this assessment. His ode begins: ‘Do Grayson Perry urns deserve an ode?/ Has modern art not shamed the Muse enough?/ That looks for beauty in a tortured toad/ And loads our galleries with frightful stuff?’ Elsewhere, the entry was chock-full of adroit Keatsian references. Honourable mentions go to Frank Upton, G.M. Davis, Sylvia Fairley and Graham King. The deserving winners below take £20 each.

W.J. Webster A form of classic shape and grace, Here covered in graffiti style, Which offers us a Janus face,       Half snarl, half smile. It looks at once both butch and fey; A line that joins the modish dots To illustrate a crafty way       Of making pots. It’s true, of course, that ancient Greeks Made lust and war a common theme On vases not the chaste antiques       Of Keatsian dream. But potters then worked namelessly, Content as artists to exult In god-sent skills, not aim to be       Themselves a cult.

Brian Murdoch Thou still unvarnished piece of crockery! Calm and serene in Keatsian quietness, Your silent form will brook no mockery, Your flowery tale matches the potter’s dress. What wild abstractions, colourful and gay! No more the longing nymphs or unheard       rhymes. Your Attic shape, though, cannot be displaced To any attic! Form is what must stay. You and your maker typify our times. Beauty and truth are relative, like taste.

Chris O’Carroll Thou bride — or art thou bridegroom in bride’s       dress? — Thou piping, timbrel-jangling history’s child Adorned in every hue but quietness, Near ecstasy, approximately wild, Thy gloss post-modern on a classic shape Excites, affronts and charms at the same time; Intoxicated as by some mad grape, We hear thy maker clang his eldritch chime.

Thy goddesses and gods, thy girls and boys Attend for ever to sweet, unheard song, Or not so sweet sometimes perhaps; just joy’s Loud palette with no dark notes might feel       wrong.

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