In Competition No. 3182 you were invited to rewrite a famous piece of light verse with a dirge-like, hieratic tone (as if we need any more doom and gloom).
Robert Schechter put a downer on light verse supremo Ogden Nash’s pithy ‘Reflections on Ice-Breaking’, ‘Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker’:
Time is a burden we mortals must carry,And in the great darkness our lives are a flicker,So heed me: though sweets may seduce, do not tarry.Life’s candle is shrinking, and liquor is quicker.
The winners earn £25 each. Bill Greenwell pockets a bonus fiver.
And so we recall, so saith the LORD, an ancient, Whom shall we praise, praise for his whiskers, For the whiskers proclaim his age, For they are grey in the way of righteousness, And Lo! Hear the words that linger in his mouth! And he saith, Verily, I am very much afraid, sore afraid, That the owls, peradventure the great owl and screech owl, Ay, both of them, small and great, And with them all together, mayhap, the solitary hen, Also the thick-billed lark, two pairs, larks of the desert, All wingèd fowl, yea, of the air, And furthermore the wren, yea, the darting wren, All such as may fly above the earth, like sparks, Yea, but these eight fowl in particular, birds of the heavens, Have made in my most hairy parts, in my great beard, Their houses, ay, their houses, therein to live.