In Competition No. 3227, you were invited to provide verses to help children remember the sequence of the last eight US presidents.
The same challenge was set in these pages more than 30 years ago, and on that occasion the late Martin Fagg, a titan in the world of literary competitions, emerged victorious. Here’s a snippet from his winning entry, which takes us more or less to the point where yours start from:
“Gerald Ford — so superdumbHe couldn’t walk straight chewing gum.Georgia’s Carter — folksy guy,First ‘Jimmy Who?’, then ‘Jimmy Why?’Last, Reagan — filmic do-or-die man,And one-time husband of Jane Wyman.
It was a mixed bag this week, but the best of the bunch earn their authors £20 apiece.
“Jimmy beat Jerry,Then Ronnie beat Jim,Then Georgie beat Fritzie,Then Billy beat him.Then Georgie, the son,Beat Al Gore and becamePotus (the secondTo go by that name).Then came Barack,Then the One with Small Hands.Then Biden. And that’sWhere the record now stands.Robert Schechter
“Jimmy Carter is our starterPeanut farming was his trade.Ronald Reagan was a cowboyIn the movies that he made.George H. Bush had several childrenIn this list you’ll find his son.People would have liked Bill ClintonTo have kept his trousers on.Bush the second, known as Dubya,Started Middle Eastern strife.Barack Obama was a charmer,And he had a charming wife.Donald Trump, a total chump,Deserved to get the old heave-ho.After him in came Joe Biden,How he’ll do we don’t yet know.Brian Murdoch
“Joe, a dear, a sleepy dearTrump, a drop of orange sunThen Obama played it coolAfter Dubya’s turn to runBill, a hopper into bedsBush, who never made his cutsReagan socked it to the redsAnd Jimmy Carter grew small nuts.Nick MacKinnon
“Each four years the US votersChoose someone to be the PotusIf they want to stand a chanceThey have got to learn to dance!Carter, Jimmy did the shimmyCowboy Ronnie tripped ‘hey nonny’George H. Bush would shake his tushNext came Bill, whose moves could thrillDubya’s style would surely drub yaWatch Obama’s ballroom dramaTrump could jump and bump and thumpBiden moonwalks slickly slidin’.All could do the hotsie-totsieSo’s to get a ten from Motsi!Frank Upton
“Carter grew peanuts on a Georgia farm.The nuts in Washington had far less charm.Reagan shared stardom with a chimpanzee,Then monkeyed with some co-stars in DCBoth oil-biz Texan and prep-school patrician,The first Bush took a ‘Read my lips’ position.Clinton enjoyed the Oval Office whileAn intern found a way to make him smile.The second Bush was downsized from his Dad,And did the worst he could with what he had.Obama helped us heal our history,Yet racism persists. A mystery.Trump claimed to be a genius tycoonWhile tweeting like a Looney Tunes buffoon.Biden from Delaware is rather bland,Which comes across these days as calm command.Chris O’Carroll
“Carter was a great vote catcher,Reagan cuddled up to Thatcher,Bush, G.H., was meek, not haughty,Clinton, though, was rather naughty!Bush G.W., went to war,Obama championed the poor,Trump was hired then fired as fast,Biden won the crown at last.From this mnemonic you can learnTo name each President in turn:Can Rose Bake Cookies, Biscuits OrToast Bread? — A useful aid I’m sure.The bold-typed letters hold the key:The T from Toast prompts Trump, the BFrom Bake prompts Biden, have a shotAnd soon you’ll memorise the lot.Alan Millard
“Carter grew peanuts while Reagan made flicks,George Bush, that’s the First, hated broccoli.Bill Clinton came on rather strong with the chicks,Bush Two took Iraq, most improperly.Obama used rhetoric his deeds couldn’t match,Trump, merely a vacuous demagogue,Got beaten by Biden who, nearing despatch,Wore a mask all the time he slept like a log.Adrian Fry
No. 3230: double issue
You are invited to submit a double acrostic poem, the first and last letters of each line, read vertically, spelling out The Spectator and New Statesman in either order. Please email entries to email@example.com by midday on 29 December.