For the latest competition you were invited to submit a poem suitable for inclusion in Now We are Rich. There was no obligation to write in the style of A.A. Milne, but most of you did.
I enjoyed Barbara Kirby’s neat take on Milne’s ‘A Thought’ :
If I were Ted and Ted were me,
Then he’d sit here and I’d serve tea.
If Ted were me and I were Ted,
I'd dump it on the bleeder’s head.
There were stellar performances, too, from D.A. Prince, Warren Clements, Max Gutmann, Martin Parker and George Simmers, who were unlucky to go unrewarded. The winners printed below take £30 apiece. Bill Greenwell lands the bonus fiver for his ‘Binker’-inspired entry.
The Donald — as I call him — is a secret I can’t
The Donald is the reason why I have such
Making market killings, stealing from the poor
Whatever cut I’m taking, the Donald tells me,
Oh Murdoch is a stinker and he has a giant wad
And Billy Gates has more inside his bank
account than God
And Branson is Branson, blond and rather odd
But they can’t touch The Donald
The Donald’s on the dais, with his wallet making
And tells the world to take a running jump or
He twinkles like a diamond with his broad
And makes more money every time he milks
them for applause
Oh Buffet is a toughie and he loves his stack of
And Bezos makes a mint each time you’re sent a
And Soros is Soros, a rare and wily fox
But they can’t touch The Donald
I never was a poor man,
I always had enough
To live in bourgeois comfort
With a decent load of stuff.
But still I only had two cars
And never drank in fancy bars
Or smoked Churchillian cigars.
My style was partly bluff.
Then in neoliberal pastures
The greener grew the grass:
Brass necks and avarice opened doors
Into the moneyed class.
I played the market, beat the odds,
And joined the men who live like gods,
So let the great unwashed, poor sods,
Kiss my expensive arse.
They’re stony broke at Buckingham Palace.
Christopher Robin, perplexed, asks Alice:
‘How can it be that the Queen’s on her uppers?’
‘Too many ambassadorial suppers,’ says
‘Well, I thought that the Queen was incredibly rich.’
‘She was, till her bankers came up with a switch,
Diverting her cash to their own bloated pensions
But that is a swindle that nobody mentions,’ says
‘So the bankers are rich, and the rest of us
‘I’m afraid that is true. As I’ve told you before,
It’s the bankers who own the whole country today,
Even though they have frittered our money
away,’ says Alice.
‘Perhaps I could send her my own pocket
And Pooh could contribute a small jar of
‘That’s kind of you, dear, but it won’t really do
The bankers would greedily gobble it too,’ says
I’m taking funds from your bank account
And crediting mine with the same amount,
Spoof emails are a chance to screw
Your cash from PayPal, eBay too,
But no one knows I’m phishing,
I’ve made a billion —
No one knows I’m scamming,
It’s cyber crime, I pocket my share,
I’m a Silicon Valley billionaire.
If the offer seems ‘too good to be true’
It’s me getting rich, it won’t be you,
I’ll steal your data, spamming,
For I’ve made billions —
Saul Slegg was not a good man —
He played some sneaky tricks
And fellows who’d advanced him sums
Were often in a fix.
Then, at last, one vowed he’d sue
And see the brute in court —
The wealthy Slegg just laughed and said:
‘He must be mad, weak in the head —
Before I pay, he will be dead
For juries can be bought.’
But Saul Slegg was wrong —
He raised jury hackles
And they cheered as they saw him
Go down in shackles.
That’s why, ten years later, against a prison wall
He’s still kicking a big, red india-rubber ball!
Alan Bennett broadcasts his diaries like a literary Mrs Dale but many other authors make sure that theirs are never read, even posthumously. Your next challenge is to submit extracts from diaries that their writers did not wish the world to see. Please email entries (wherever possible) of up to 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 24