In Competition No. 3144 you were invited to submit a poem, six lines at most, containing all the letters of the alphabet.
Some of the more technical challenges in the past have prompted howls of protest; under the circumstances, I decided not to make this one too taxing. Max Ross speaks, I am sure, for many:
“Crazily quizzical, anagrammatical,Fiendishly taxing they drove compers wild,Almost undoable, don’t-have-a-clueableThankfully this one’s just pleasantly mild.
Hats off to you all for a terrific entry, in which the topical rubbed shoulders with the absurd. There were lots of entertaining riffs on the famous pangram ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’, but so much more besides. Especially strong performers who only narrowly missed out on a prize were F.M. King, Joe Houlihan, Frank Upton, David Shields, Linda Lewis, Jim Lloyd Davies, Nick MacKinnon and Linda Mallinson. Those who did make the cut appear below and earn £10 each.
“Onyx goblins, quick brown foxes,Jumpers over lazy dogs,Pack my black quartz sphinx’s boxesWith piqued gymnasts and their frogs.In an age of scary poxes,Pangrams frolic through the blogs.Chris O’Carroll
“Except for this, and even so,And just because, but quite (you know),And mindful of, amazingly,I plight my, well now, let me see.Bill Greenwell
“Inventors, poets all avowthe quiet mind’s the one endowedwith thought. The Newtons, Wordsworths knowthe fruitfulness of going slow,of gazing, unexcited sojust pause because you’ll wiser grow.Dorothy Pope
“My pet was a lazy red foxWho enjoyed eating bagels with loxWith a cream-cheesy smear,Then he’d quaff a huge beerOr a vodka, with lime, on the rocks.Robert Schechter
“The duck-billed platypus would seemA lovely, gentle creature,Its schnozzle, quaint in the extreme,Adjudged its finest feature.Hugh King
“Letters go now, u and i,Minnows of the Scrabble board.But ‘senza’ racks J. Alfred plenty;With ‘etherised’ worth over twenty,Spread out against a triple word;Squares in exile, versify.Edward Lyons
“Young men do flaunt, in masques and revels, allTheir talent — modesty, forsooth, is scorn’d;Beneath the doublet, codpieces, though small,Are deck’d exquisitely, with jewels adorn’d.Thus men will strive for fashion, dress to flatter,Yet prove the ancient adage, size won’t matter.Sylvia Fairley
“Proud characters those twenty-sixThat thought requires, with breath or ink,To form the zillion verbal bricksWhich join to be our social link.W.J. Webster
“Just to make life betterIn these dark and toxic times,Our amazing Speccie setterIs now requesting pithy rhymesInvolving every letter.C. Paul Evans
“Captives of virusFixed in quiet zones we lurk,Just being homely.Frank McDonald
“Beware the questing zelatrixWho, furtive, with her bag of tricksAdjures the nun to mend her waysAnd spies upon her when she prays.Philip Machin
“Forget the buzzy city barsand quests for wild elationin jolly pubs; we’re avatarsnow doomed to isolationas existential superstarslocked down for the duration.D.A. Prince
“We trawl our English word-hoard, deftly treadThrough Chambers Dictionary, A to Z;A pointless journey, aardvark unto zythum;Exotic, recondite? So what, just try them.Vuvuzela, syzygy sound dirty;Ceilidh, shillelagh? Who knows, stick to Qwerty.Mike Morrison
“My love, I beg you to reflect a whileBefore you voice those sentiments you hold;Prepare yourself not to expect a smile.Don’t be amazed they think you overbold.My love, I know you find my friends, well, quaintAnd think their views must justify complaint.Josephine Boyle
“At sunrise, masked, I jogged beside the sea.The vista of the promenade was freeof people, quiet too, but for a fox,unworried by the unrelenting pox.Obeying social-distancing, my gazemet his before we went our separate ways.Paul Freeman
No. 3147: going solo
You are invited to submit tips for social isolation in the style of a well-known writer, living or dead (please specify). Please email up to 16 lines/150 words to email@example.com by midday on 29 April. NB. We are un-able to accept postal entries at present.