Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: Whenas in jorts my Julia goes

Competitors were invited to supply their own nine-line twist on Robert Herrick’s ‘Upon Julia’s clothes’:

Whenas in silks my Julia goes Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see That brave vibration each way free, O how that glittering taketh me!

In a large and somewhat raucous entry, Herrick’s 17th-century restraint was cast aside in favour of full-on 21st-century vulgarity. Honourable mentions go to Basil Ransome-Davies, John Whitworth and Josh Ekroy. The winners, printed below, take £15 each.

Jerome Betts Whenas in shorts my Julia plays A set or two on summer days I think of Herrick’s, who wore stays.

If in a skirt, it’s not that long And struggles to conceal the thong Unknown in Robert’s verse or song.

White hairless legs, below the knees? With us, much more is viewed with ease Than when he wrote Hesperides.

Frank Osen Whenas in jorts my Julia goes, I note she’s sporting camel toes. Whynot, I offer, change your clothes?

Then-at I cast my eyes and see How-of she with her voice makes free, Abjuring me as ‘one of those’, Whilst popping me upon the nose. Therefor, to bleach I’ve now consigned The shirt that she incarnadined.

Martin Parker Whenas in time my Julia grows less lustrous than a dew-pearled rose I’ll be the only one who knows.

For, while her unguents, paint and paste applied with artistry and taste may long conceal old age’s haste

I’ll do what timeless love entails by doctoring her bathroom scales to lie each day ’til Earth’s light fails.

Robert Schechter Whenas in style my Julia dines She says ‘My perfect valentine’s The one who buys me fancy wines,

The kind that make a girl go ape And pray to God she won’t escape The liquefaction of the grape.’

And so, to have a bon, bon soir And end up in my love’s boudoir, I buy her pricey pinot noir.

Roger Slater Whenas in dreams my Julia takes My hand, my heart no longer breaks, And though I’m sleeping there awakes

In me a sense that so-called dreams Are more than merely that which seems But that which is.

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