In Competition No. 3236, you were invited to submit a poem that begins ‘Oh my love is like…’ .
From the funny and sweet to the waspish and jaundiced, the entry ranged pleasingly far and wide; as the poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote in his sonnet ‘The Hospital’ (‘A year ago I fell in love with the functional ward/ Of a chest hospital…), ‘But nothing whatever is by love debarred…’
Commendations go to Nicholas Hodgson, Adrian Fry, Mary McLean and Richard Spencer. The winners, printed below, earn their authors £25 each.
“O My Love is like a sad old lagThat’s newly sprung from jail.My love is like a jiffy bagRecycled in the mail.But still for you, my bonny ladThey hold what’s tried and true.Though both have weathered good and badThey still do what they do.The one is tentative and slowThe other slack and battered;But both have many miles to goAnd hold what’s always mattered.And still for you, my bonny ladMy love is tried and trueAnd though it’s weathered good and badIt’s always here for you.Ann Drysdale
“O my love is like a battleaxe,Her language rough and salty.Hard-hearted as the Income Tax,She channels Sybil Fawlty.Her raucous shouts of ‘Basil!’ fillThe staircase and the hall.The gaslighting persists untilI’m going up the wall.I’d nursed a dream of happiness,Of romance everlasting,But who can ever second-guessWhat dice the gods are casting?Should Eros lead you up the creekIt’s vain to sob and fret.If you can’t get the love you seek,Then love the one you get.Basil Ransome-Davies
“O, my love, is like a turningWheel, a ring, a nimbus burning —Or a coiling ouroboros,Or an orbit or a torus.All around me, I’m discerningSigns of O, for whom I’m yearningAlways, with emotions churning.Let us roundly praise, in chorus,O, my love.Any lettered poet earningHonours in the halls of learning,Versed in Shakespeare, Burns and HoraceLauds, with passion and thesaurus,Every little thing concerningO, my love.Alex Steelsmith
“O my love is like a shooting starAblaze ’cross boundless skies;Shall I behold eternityReflected in thine eyes?Thou art a beauteous bonnie lass:Dearest, I burn to knowIf thou wilt have me, Alison;Fain would I be thy JoThen should we feel the heft of time —Nay, seize him by the scruff,Whirl in the world’s eternal danceTill he do sigh, Enough!Our love would be a pendulumTick-tocking out the days;Tho’ I confess me, Alison,My love doth swing both ways.Mike Morrison
“O my love is like a dry, red wineThat’s piquant, sharp and tart,A lass, alas, who rarely warmsThe cockles of my heart.As dear she is, my stroppy spouse,There’s something gone amiss,However ardently I plead,Ne’er cuddle we, nor kiss.Yet love her still I always shall,Till all the wine runs dry,Till all that’s left to drink is dregsTo love her still I’ll try.Of loving her I’ll never tire.Though me she loathes and spurnsI’ll prove my love runs just as deepAs once ran Rabbie Burns’.Alan Millard
“O, my love is like a jazz trombonePerhaps with bass and drums:It slides serenely in and outAnd rapture surely comes.Which jazzman will he be next time?Chris Barber, smooth, polite?Glenn Miller, gifted in techniqueBut tending to the trite?Jack Teagarden has all the skillsBut seldom breaks a sweat;Vic Dickenson’s more whimsical —Appealing, this; and yetFor primal passion I preferKid Ory, Satchmo’s mate:Coarse tho’ his sounds, his rhythmic thrustMeans climaxes await.Iain Morley
No. 3239: bookish
Sajid Javid is a big fan of Ayn Rand and Justin Trudeau loves Stephen King. You are invited to submit political manifestos inspired by literary heroes (please specify). Please email entries of up to 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 2 March.