Spectator literary competition No. 2829
Peter Porter called Hull ‘the most poetic city in England’ but would Philip Larkin have agreed? What would he have made of his adopted home city being named 2017’s City of Culture? Answers, please, in verse of up to 16 lines, to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 1 January.
The recent invitation to confound logic and expectation, and submit nonsense verse on a wintry theme was taken up with gusto, producing a large and lively entry. Honourable mentions to Alanna Blake, Sylvia Fairley, Martin Elster and G.M. Davis, who were unlucky losers. The winners below pocket £25 each. The bonus fiver belongs to Brian Allgar.
Tags: Literary competition
’Twas winter, and the gringeing goves
Did quave and quemble on the ice,
The cameroon howled like a loon
And nibbled frozen lice.
‘The miliband is close at hand!’
He sneezed with fear and snarled with pain.
‘A thousand legs like stumpy pegs,
Yet only half a brain!’
They called for help, they called for kelp,
They even called upon the loris,
But he, extinct, just blurped and blinked,
And mumbled: ‘Try the boris.’
The hero came, though limp and lame,
And chorkled through the snigid forest.
The miliband made one last stand,
But ended bagged and borissed.
There’s a reindeer in my bathtub, there are
robins in my drawers
And the ghost of Enver Hoxha has dressed up
as Santa Claus,
While the cat is mixing Snowballs with a special
(Angie Merkel wants to help him, but she’s on
the waiting list.)
Since the Mafia stole my clothing I’ve been
freezing in the nude,
With only Crossroads on the box and only sprats
Once Madonna came for breakfast but she
couldn’t break the ice,
And Roger Moore sent margarine, but no one
does that twice.
I remember in the seventies, when Hitler was
A PhD in Physics was like falling off a log.
That’s a kind of consolation when you’re castaway on Mars,
And your beauty sleep is ruined by the howling
of the stars
And mutant rabbits chew your toes and toothpaste costs the earth
And whenever there’s no surfeit there is sure to
be a dearth.
As one afternoon in Rickmansworth I said to
‘You think spring is a bastard, mate? Just wait
till bloody winter!’
About this time a year ago
My cat (whose name is Figaro)
Declared, ‘The summer’s dead and gone.
If you’re so smart, switch it back on.’
I built a season-shift appliance
With old tin cans and arcane science,
Intoning, as I launched the thing,
‘Abracadabra! Let it be Spring!’
There was a very short delay —
Six months or thereabouts, I’d say,
Six months of ice and snow and sleet —
And then it worked, and worked a treat.
But now it’s cold once more, and snowing,
And Figaro is looking knowing,
I need to make this thing work faster
To save my status as The Master.
When plodpaves crake with glattered frust
and slitheringers mode,
when every poddle lies be-crussed
on ankry-snapper road;
when dongling stabbicles forsend
their eavish snaggle-barbs,
and drefts of nimbo-whoosh empend
the troon and closh and carbs;
then is the sillion of fluxesse
as shupping grobbles all —
the plistock dipped, the cashy cless
for famifootle grawl.
And wostesome grom explends and fills,
the histrate cofflers groan
till New Yorn uffers gregious bills
to cardicroppers moan.
Because it was winter, the snowflakes were glad.
With six legs apiece, they all danced.
They sparkled and swirled and cavorted like mad
as the murderous springtime advanced,
and glaciers were melting, but healed when they
and branches were dreaming of blooming,
and bears were enjoying a wintertime doze,
and plants were for now unassuming,
when out of the dark, as the sun spewed its glare,
there were songs that nobody had written,
and somebody heard a young mother declare
that her daughter had lost her left mitten.
All over coverly;
Hush falls around,
In the air, on the ground.
Breath coming mistily;
Days of sheer joy
For a girl or a boy.
Tread very gingerly,
The splint and the plaster.
Oldies say ‘Pshaw!’
As they long for a thaw.