Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Pangrams in six lines

Spectator competition winners: Pangrams in six lines
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Credit: keiichihiki
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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-clueable

Thankfully 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 boxes

With 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 avow

the quiet mind’s the one endowed

with thought. The Newtons, Wordsworths know

the fruitfulness of going slow,

of gazing, unexcited so

just pause because you’ll wiser grow.

Dorothy Pope
My pet was a lazy red fox

Who enjoyed eating bagels with lox

With a cream-cheesy smear,

Then he’d quaff a huge beer

Or a vodka, with lime, on the rocks.

Robert Schechter
The duck-billed platypus would seem

A 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, all

Their 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-six

That thought requires, with breath or ink,

To form the zillion verbal bricks

Which join to be our social link.

W.J. Webster
Just to make life better

In these dark and toxic times,

Our amazing Speccie setter

Is now requesting pithy rhymes

Involving every letter.

C. Paul Evans
Captives of virus

Fixed in quiet zones we lurk,

Just being homely.

Frank McDonald
Beware the questing zelatrix

Who, furtive, with her bag of tricks

Adjures the nun to mend her ways

And spies upon her when she prays.

Philip Machin
Forget the buzzy city bars

and quests for wild elation

in jolly pubs; we’re avatars

now doomed to isolation

as existential superstars

locked down for the duration.

D.A. Prince
We trawl our English word-hoard, deftly tread

Through 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 while

Before 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, quaint

And think their views must justify complaint.

Josephine Boyle
At sunrise, masked, I jogged beside the sea.

The vista of the promenade was free

of people, quiet too, but for a fox,

unworried by the unrelenting pox.

Obeying social-distancing, my gaze

met 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 lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 29 April. NB. We are un-able to accept postal entries at present.