Lucy Vickery

Spectator competitions winners: ‘O, my love is like…’

Spectator competitions winners: ‘O, my love is like…’
A statue of poet Robert Burns on a bench in Aberfeldy, Perthshire [Iain Masterton / Alamy Stock Photo]
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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 lag 

That’s newly sprung from jail. 

My love is like a jiffy bag 

Recycled in the mail. 

But still for you, my bonny lad 

They hold what’s tried and true. 

Though both have weathered good and bad 

They still do what they do. 

 

The one is tentative and slow 

The other slack and battered; 

But both have many miles to go 

And hold what’s always mattered. 

And still for you, my bonny lad 

My love is tried and true 

And though it’s weathered good and bad 

It’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!’ fill 

The staircase and the hall. 

The gaslighting persists until 

I’m going up the wall. 

 

I’d nursed a dream of happiness, 

Of romance everlasting, 

But who can ever second-guess 

What dice the gods are casting? 

 

Should Eros lead you up the creek 

It’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 turning 

Wheel, a ring, a nimbus burning — 

Or a coiling ouroboros, 

Or an orbit or a torus. 

All around me, I’m discerning 

 

Signs of O, for whom I’m yearning 

Always, with emotions churning. 

Let us roundly praise, in chorus, 

O, my love. 

 

Any lettered poet earning 

Honours in the halls of learning, 

Versed in Shakespeare, Burns and Horace 

Lauds, with passion and thesaurus, 

Every little thing concerning 

O, my love. 

Alex Steelsmith
O my love is like a shooting star 

Ablaze ’cross boundless skies; 

Shall I behold eternity 

Reflected in thine eyes? 

 

Thou art a beauteous bonnie lass: 

Dearest, I burn to know 

If thou wilt have me, Alison; 

Fain would I be thy Jo 

 

Then should we feel the heft of time — 

Nay, seize him by the scruff, 

Whirl in the world’s eternal dance 

Till he do sigh, Enough! 

 

Our love would be a pendulum 

Tick-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 wine 

That’s piquant, sharp and tart, 

A lass, alas, who rarely warms 

The 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 dregs 

To love her still I’ll try. 

 

Of loving her I’ll never tire. 

Though me she loathes and spurns 

I’ll prove my love runs just as deep 

As once ran Rabbie Burns’. 

Alan Millard
O, my love is like a jazz trombone 

Perhaps with bass and drums: 

It slides serenely in and out 

And rapture surely comes. 

 

Which jazzman will he be next time? 

Chris Barber, smooth, polite? 

Glenn Miller, gifted in technique 

But tending to the trite? 

 

Jack Teagarden has all the skills 

But seldom breaks a sweat; 

Vic Dickenson’s more whimsical — 

Appealing, this; and yet 

 

For primal passion I prefer 

Kid Ory, Satchmo’s mate: 

Coarse tho’ his sounds, his rhythmic thrust 

Means 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 lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 2 March.