Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Villanelles after Elizabeth Bishop

Credit: Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo

In Competition No. 3213 you were invited to submit a villanelle whose first line is: ‘The art of [insert gerund of choice here] isn’t hard to master…’ Floating in the slipstream of Elizabeth Bishop were some fine entries, including those by Bob Trewin and Philip Roe, who earn honourable mentions. The winners take £30.

The art of winning isn’t hard to master; Your errors can escort you to success. There is no better teacher than disaster.  Triumphs will come your way a little faster When Nike offers you that first caress. The art of winning isn’t hard to master.  The skills you gain from failed attempts will last a Lifetime. You’ll be a loser less and less. There is no better teacher than disaster.  From also-ran you’ll be a flabbergaster; Your efforts will astonish and impress. The art of winning isn’t hard to master.  Look forward to your glory; make the past a Place where you put away defeat’s distress. There is no better teacher than disaster.  Enjoy your prize. Your first success will cast a Spell that will warm your heart with happiness. The art of winning isn’t hard to master. There is no better teacher than disaster. Frank McDonald

The art of wooing isn’t hard to master But be prepared to fine-tune your technique; Follow my guidelines to avoid disaster:   Patience pays off, think steadier not faster: Well-tended gardens flourish week by week. The art of wooing isn’t hard to master.   Be you the Bard or petty poetaster, Give it your best shot, else your future’s bleak; Follow my guidelines to avoid disaster.  Complexion that of flawless alabaster? Well tell her so, no good will come of meek; The art of wooing isn’t hard to master.   It doesn’t take the prophet Zoroaster To point out your shortcomings — speak man,speak! Follow my guidelines to avoid disaster.   The game’s the same, from Delhi to Doncaster: Love’s but an endless round of hide-and-seek; The art of wooing isn’t hard to master — Follow my guidelines to avoid disaster.

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