Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: spring triolets

Spectator competition winners: spring triolets
[Photo: simonbradfield]
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In Competition No. 3241, you were invited to submit a spring triolet.

Banjo Paterson, the bard of the bush, had this to say about the triolet in 1894:

Of all the sickly forms of verse,

Commend me to the triolet.

It makes bad writers somewhat worse:

Of all the sickly forms of verse…

But this challenge produced a funny, poignant and thoroughly robust entry full of unforced artistry. The winners take £12.

Now is the time to glorify

What will not break the human heart. 

As Flora’s ethos lights the sky, 

Now is the time to glorify 

What’s truthful, suffocate the lie. 

All wars and tragedies apart, 

Now is the time to glorify 

What will not break the human heart. 

Basil Ransome-Davies
One needs a heart as hard as stone 

to stand up to the hand of fate. 

To face the future all alone, 

one needs a heart as hard as stone. 

He died in March; I softly moan 

that his new epithet is ‘late’. 

One needs a heart as hard as stone 

to stand up to the hand of fate. 

Dorothy Pope
The lion and the lamb compete 

And no one’s certain what to wear 

We’ll either freeze or wilt from heat. 

The lion and the lamb compete, 

One day a trial, the next a treat, 

In spring we’re neither here nor there. 

The lion and the lamb compete 

And no one’s certain what to wear. 

Alan Millard
This Spring, again, the slugs and snails 

Are eager for their vernal feast. 

I’ve baited traps with beers and ales 

This Spring. Again, the slugs and snails 

Just lap it up; my method fails 

To kill a single drunken beast. 

This Spring, again, the slugs and snails 

Are eager for their vernal feast. 

Brian Allgar
Where are the songs of spring this year, 

The songs of love, rebirth and laughter? 

We ask each morning, with a tear, 

Where are the songs of spring this year? 

Across the world burst buds of fear; 

We’ll sample peace in the hereafter. 

Where are the songs of spring this year, 

The songs of love, rebirth and laughter? 

Frank McDonald
Spring is surely on the way 

When darkness bows before the light. 

People seeing, smile and say, 

‘Spring is surely on the way.’ 

Fresh colours flourish day by day 

With delicate, pervasive might. 

Spring is surely on the way 

When darkness bows before the light. 

W.J. Webster
Every spring I quite forget 

that this is just a ritual. 

The warmth performs its show, and yet 

every spring I quite forget 

that spring is how a trap gets set. 

My folly is habitual. 

Every spring I quite forget 

that this is just a ritual. 

Robert Schechter
‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’ 

Well, frankly, Will, I’d rather you did not. 

It isn’t very flattering to say 

‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’ 

Just look outside – it’s miserable and grey, 

And unlike Spring, I like to think I’m hot. 

‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’ 

Well, frankly, Will, I’d rather you did not. 

Nicholas Holbrook
The sky would never be as blue 

as cobalt days of lockdown spring 

and as the breathless evil grew 

the sky would never be as blue 

the lapwings and the turbines knew 

a twenty/twenty foresight thing 

the sky would never be as blue 

as cobalt days of lockdown spring 

Nick MacKinnon
The celandines defy the cold March breeze 

With glossy petals glowing in the sun. 

Gold sprigs the green beneath still leafless trees. 

The celandines defy the cold March breeze, 

In sheltered corners tempting early bees. 

As if to prove that spring has now begun 

The celandines defy the cold March breeze 

With glossy petals glowing in the sun. 

Jerome Betts
When spring arrives we must give thanks 

For trees that burst to flower and leaf. 

For crowds of primroses on banks. 

When spring arrives we must give thanks 

For nature’s kindness as the ranks 

Of evil press, its calm relief. 

When spring arrives we must give thanks 

For trees that burst to flower and leaf. 

Katie Mallett
I tried to write a triolet 

about my love of spring 

and found I had but this to say: 

‘I tried to write a triolet 

in praise of April, June and May 

but ended up just blathering 

“I tried to write a triolet 

about my love of spring.”’ 

Roger Slater

No. 3244: worse verse

Bono’s Ukraine-themed poem for St Patrick’s Day has been dubbed ‘the worst poem ever written’. You are invited to submit a poem to mark St George’s Day (not necessarily with a topical theme) that rivals it in awfulness. Email entries (16 lines max.) to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 6 April.