In Competition No. 3221, you were invited to submit an ode on the Marble Arch Mound. The 25 metre-high artificial hillock, dubbed ‘Teletubby Hill’, has drawn near universal mockery and derision, leaving Westminster City Council red-faced and poorer to the tune of £6 million. But it inspired a funny, imaginative entry, with a strong whiff of Keats and Wordsworth. The Bard of Dundee, channelled by Brian Murdoch, speaks for many:
When the Mound next to Marble Arch was first erected
You had to pay to walk up it, which made many good folk dejected…
Commendations go to Bob Trewin and George Simmers; the winners earn £25.
I hail thee, Mound! O mightiest of peaks,
That towereth o’er adoring Oxford Street
Like high Olympus, thronged by ancient Greeks,
Or Pan’s Parnassus, paced by pilgrim feet!
As mighty Rome is crowned by Palatine,
Whence her Imperial power proudly flowed
Through arch of Titus and of Constantine,
Thou, Mound, surveyeth glorious Edgware Road!
I watch — as Moses, by God’s edict banned,
Once wistfully beheld from Nebo’s heights
The milk and honey of that Promised Land —
The streets of London, where I spend my nights;
My cardboard home, its corrugated lid,
The conscience cup of Costa whence I sup
Beneath a Mound that cost six million quid —
O Mound! Art thou what’s meant by Levelling Up?
My knee aches, and a weary glumness drains
All hope of ever climbing to the top
Where from a grey and gloomy sky the rains
On soggy sedum turf begin to drop.