Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: odes on the Marble Arch Mound

Credit: JOHN BRACEGIRDLE / Alamy Stock Photo

In Competition No. 3221, you were invited to submit an ode on the Marble Arch Mound. The 25 metre-high artificial hillock, dubbed ‘Teletubby Hill’, has drawn near universal mockery and derision, leaving Westminster City Council red-faced and poorer to the tune of £6 million. But it inspired a funny, imaginative entry, with a strong whiff of Keats and Wordsworth. The Bard of Dundee, channelled by Brian Murdoch, speaks for many:

When the Mound next to Marble Arch was first erected You had to pay to walk up it, which made many good folk dejected…

Commendations go to Bob Trewin and George Simmers; the winners earn £25.

I hail thee, Mound! O mightiest of peaks, That towereth o’er adoring Oxford Street Like high Olympus, thronged by ancient Greeks, Or Pan’s Parnassus, paced by pilgrim feet! As mighty Rome is crowned by Palatine, Whence her Imperial power proudly flowed Through arch of Titus and of Constantine, Thou, Mound, surveyeth glorious Edgware Road! I watch — as Moses, by God’s edict banned, Once wistfully beheld from Nebo’s heights The milk and honey of that Promised Land — The streets of London, where I spend my nights; My cardboard home, its corrugated lid, The conscience cup of Costa whence I sup Beneath a Mound that cost six million quid — O Mound! Art thou what’s meant by Levelling Up? David Silverman

My knee aches, and a weary glumness drains All hope of ever climbing to the top Where from a grey and gloomy sky the rains On soggy sedum turf begin to drop. ’Tis not for want of keenness I advance Nor fear of failure though the way be hard But for an opportunity, perchance, To spot the distant London Eye or Shard!     Thou wast not built to last, O transient mound Raised on a skeleton of scaffold poles, But for a while to soar above the ground And thrill with glorious views our earthbound souls. Yet once atop, forlorn I stand and gaze Through mist at naught my eyes had longed to greet, And in the gloom of drizzle drear and haze, I barely see the turf beneath my feet.

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