Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Rondeaus on a summery theme

Spectator competition winners: Rondeaus on a summery theme
‘The tourists swarm, the carparks fill,/ on bustling beaches bodies grill…’. Credit: Celia McMahon / Alamy Stock Photo
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In Competition No. 3204, you were invited to supply a rondeau with a summery theme.

The best-known English rondeau is the Canadian poet and doctor John McRae’s first world war poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ (which inspired the use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance). But the form has it roots in medieval and Renaissance French poetry and perhaps it was this that prompted David Silverman to submit his jaunty, mischievous offering, celebrating the prospect of a lack of British tourists in that country this year, in French:

Les Anglais ne viennent pas cet été.

Ah! Dansons donc et chantons rondelays!

Other strong performers, in a pleasingly wide-ranging entry, included Susan McLean, Paul Freeman, David Shields and Frank McDonald. I also admired Max Ross’s Wordsworthian submission and Nigel Stuart’s well-made cri de coeur.

The winners below take £25 each.

Across the mead a maiden fair,

Adorned with daisies in her hair,

Strolled through the grass with softest tread,

This season’s flowers about her spread,

As I, transfixed, stood gazing there.


Birds circled round her in the air

While on she walked without a care

Through poppies glowing vibrant red

Across the mead.


Her robes were white, her feet were bare,

Both dazzling in the sun’s bright glare,

I asked her name by interest led,

‘My name is Summer, sir,’ she said,

Before she fled, this vision rare,

Across the mead.

Alan Millard
The nights are drawing in we say

As, skipping past the Longest Day,

And out into the sun-stilled peace,

With months to run on summer’s lease,


We fall to making hay

The closure of our matinee’s

A hundred curtain calls away,

Yet soon the shrouded obsequies


Are drawing in

Inconstant summer’s greens go grey,

The clouds roll in, and rain stops play,

The picnic ends, we leave the crease,

Inured to summer’s soft caprice,

For autumn days of rich decay

Are drawing in

Nick Syrett
The tourists swarm, the carparks fill,

on bustling beaches bodies grill,

an overdressed, invading pack,

to slum it in their five-star shack,

with extra friends; you know the drill.


The locals groan with strained goodwill,

endure the traffic overkill.

Each summer with a fresh attack,

the tourists swarm.


Now empty cafés, rattling till,

the streets deserted, silent, still.

The locals cry, ‘our trade is slack,

‘We miss you so, come back, come back!

‘We need your cash,’ they wail, until the tourists swarm.

Janine Beacham
On Stanbury Moor as summer heat

un-eggs new lapwings on the peat

the dazzle-painted adults fly

inside the turbine-breeding sky

to blip their central-locking bleat


wap-wap pooweet wap-wap pooweet

at garbage gulls who hope to eat

their grounded nestlings by and by

on Stanbury Moor


while cuckoos talk of trick or treat

for meadow pipits that they cheat

and melancholy curlew cry

proposes that some year I’ll die

with future summer incomplete

on Stanbury Moor

Nick MacKinnon
In summertime the young obey

No master; freed from classrooms, they

Avenge the months of sitting still

By charging through the fields at will,

Attacking every summer day.


They gambol wildly while the hay

Is freshly felled, as if they play

For mortal stakes, with time to kill

In summertime.


And in their heyday, while they slay,

Assaulting summer as they may,

They’re somersaulting down a hill

Of green and pleasant chlorophyll,

Determined to forever stay

In summertime.

Alex Steelsmith
It’s summer and we’re free to sing

a roundelay, hey ring-a-ding,

it’s time for barbies, making hay,

for skinny-dipping, peach sorbet,

and sounds of songbirds chirruping.


Yet, like the birds, we’re on the wing

and flying off to have a fling,

we just can’t wait to get away,

it’s summer and we’re free!


Yes, Portugal’s for partying,

it’s green, we won’t catch anything —

the British summer can be grey

but here we’re roasting every day.

What can go wrong — hey ring-a-ding,

it’s summer and we’re free!

Sylvia Fairley

No. 3207: give us a clue

You are invited to supply an extract from a thriller, written by a well known politician, past or present (please specify), that contains clues to the identity of its author. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 7 July.