In Competition No. 3167 you were invited to submit a rhymed poem that is leadenly prosaic in tone and content.
When it comes to the joys of bad poetry, McGonagall tends to steal the show. But I also have a soft spot for Amanda McKittrick Ros, whose novels — and verse — provide passages of inadvertent hilarity to rival the worst of Bulwer Lytton (eyes are described as ‘globes of glare’; alcohol is the ‘powerful monster of mangled might’).
An honourable mention goes to George Simmers for his Wordsworthian makeover — ‘I don’t think anywhere could be more pleasant!/ Frankly, you’d have to be boring to pass by…’ — and to Richard Spencer and Janey Wilks. The winners earn £30 each.
“The fields behind my cottage stretchLike rectangles of greenWhere grow such plants as chard and vetchTo make a vivid scene.I muse upon it hour by hour,Such healthy food for thought.Not by the classroom but the powerOf Nature we are taught.Thus reasoning, I understandThat life’s not just for mirth.We must be moral agents andRespect all life on Earth.We sit so often silentlyThough feeling far from flat,Two souls in perfect peace, just meAnd Leopold, my cat.Basil Ransome-Davies
“I telephoned the surgery to ask for an appointmentThough not to get more prostate pills or haemorrhoidal ointmentBut being keen to guard against the seasonal infectionI thought it best to book up for my annual flu injection.The queue was very long, so long that some stood in the streetAnd wondered if the drizzly rain might soon turn into sleet,But while they stood two feet apart in dull and chilly weatherThey made the best of things and said, ‘We’re all in this together.’Inside the posters on the wall were interesting to view,They showed you things that some might catch and, if so, what to do.The treatment when I reached the nurse was really slick and quick,No more than just a little scratch or tiny, painless prick.It’s always good to go each year and, after it’s been doneOn looking back, I’d have to say I think it’s rather fun,It makes a change from sitting in and brings a little cheerTo brighten up October days, that flu jab, once a year.Alan Millard
“I should have taken that turn at South Bend.The wipers wave, I drive a few more feet;fume, fume about the roadworks without end.We crawl and wait, and watch the wait extend,because we have no choice, glued to each seat,I should have taken that turn at South Bend.The radio’s a mumbling, static blend,we’re prisoners locked in lanes of tired defeat,fume, fume about the roadworks without end.Abandon hope of merging here, my friend,we’ve hardly moved for hours; turn up the heat.I should have taken that turn at South Bend.We sit, the grim-lipped drivers who pretendwe’ll find an exit to a sunlit street,Fume, fume about the roadworks without end.I should have taken that turn at South BendJanine Beacham
“I - M - H - O, as I believe they say today(Though they don’t all agree on what the H stands for —In my considered view it’s ‘humble’); anyway,As I began to say a little while before,I personally think (though others disagree —Apparently they take a somewhat different view —In which case it is clear, or so it seems to me,(Not wishing to be rude) they haven’t got a clue;I just don’t think that they have really proved their case,While, on the other hand, the views that I professAre obviously right; I’ll now cut to the chaseAnd come right to the point: it’s anybody’s guessIf theirs are genuine; I think, for what it’s worth(Another well-known phrase that some abbreviate)That I just cannot see how anyone on earthCould share these views of theirs; let me reiterate…Nicholas Hodgson
“I bought a pair of boots today,they’re made in Italy;size nine in Britain, ten US,in Europe forty-three.They’re patent leather, shiny black,lace up about the shin;at first I’ll walk short distancesuntil I’ve worn them in.They cost a lot, they were not cheap,a hundred sterling pounds;I’ll wear them strolling England’s hillsand stately manor grounds.But if they rub, or chafe, or causesome blisters on my feet,I’ll get my money back uponpresenting my receipt.Paul Freeman
No. 3170: letter of the law
‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,’ according to Shelley, so let’s have a well-known poet writing their own law in verse. Please email up to 16 lines to email@example.com by midday on 7 October.