Lucy Vickery

The art of loving

In Competition No. 2987 you were invited to supply a lesson in the art of seduction in the style of an author of your choice.
In a large and stellar field, Ralph Rochester, Noah Heyl, Jennifer Moore, J. Seery, Barry Baldwin, Alan Millard, Sylvia Fairley and John Maddicott shone, but they were pipped to the post by the winners, printed below, who earn £25 each. The bonus fiver belongs to Brian Allgar.

‘Had we but world enough, and time…’
It never fails, my am’rous rhyme.
I lead them to a private place,
And strip them of their flimsy lace.
’Tis true that in my younger days,
My poems caused their eyes to glaze;
They fell asleep, a sorry fact,
Virginity still quite intact,
And vainly, I would try to shake
My vegetable love awake.
This lesson learned, ’tis my belief
You’ll benefit from being brief,
Eschewing all poetic lumber —
‘Ganges’, ‘wingèd chariots’, ‘Humber’.
Maidens spurn long-winded bores;
Six lines at most, and she’ll be yours.
Brian Allgar/Andrew Marvell
Bursley was not over-furnished with verdant spaces but Brougham Park was as leafy and tranquil a spot as could be found anywhere in the Five Towns. Here it was, on a bench facing the fitful Victoria fountain, that Albert Grint and Sarah Claypool now seated themselves. Neither knew it was the destination the other had been thinking of for a week. Sarah touched her new cream bonnet. ‘Fetching’, the draper’s assistant had called it. Sarah savoured the word. Albert thought little of bonnets but much of his royal blue tie and golden pin. He raised his chin to reveal the effect, maintaining the manly profile he had practised with two mirrors. Meanwhile, unaware and unobserved, Sarah cast downward her slyly enticing glance.
‘Happen us might,’ proffered Albert.
‘Happen,’ countered Sarah.
It was the moment, each thought, of triumph and submission. A glimpse into the paradisal mystery of consummation.
W.J. Webster/Arnold Bennett
Go, spruce in your father’s greatcoat, to that place of assignation, dimmest of dim.

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