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Spectator competition: New Year haikus (plus: a poem about the bedroom tax)

6 January 2015

6:45 PM

6 January 2015

6:45 PM

Your New Year challenge was to submit a poem composed of three haikus that looks forward to the year ahead. The traditional Japanese haiku contains 17 syllables in three unrhymed lines of five, seven and five syllables (though these rules are not always observed by western poets). It is neatly summed up here by the late Stanley J. Sharpless:

This is a haiku.
Five syllables, then seven.
Then five more. Got it?

The winners below take £17 apiece. Hats off to Max Ross for injecting a sliver of optimism into the almost all-encompassing gloom of the winning line-up. And Happy New Year to you all!

Alan Millard
Ukip wins more seats.
Nation takes to drinking beer
And falling asleep.

Britain becomes known
As Europe’s sleeping partner.
New PM fights back.

‘Ukip if you want,’
Says Premier, ‘the PM
Is not for kipping!’

Chris O’Carroll
Another Royal
Baby — Harry and Andrew
Further from the throne.

Tortured genius played
By Benedict Cumberbatch
Wins for Best Actor.

Egyptian goddess,
Mother of Horus, look who
Goes by your name now.

J. Seery
Fijians will say,
‘Stonehenge was stolen from us.
Return it now, please.’

Turner prize winner
Throws invisible discus.
Amazing acclaim.


Much too far fetched?
January after next
Is the time to say.

Bill Greenwell
Looking forward to
seeing the swingometer
going haywire on

poll-day, as the new
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
bloody the noses

of Conservatives,
Labour, and bring about the
final LibDemise.

Basil Ransome-Davies
In twenty-fifteen
whole populations go mad
and bay at the moon.

Grim days of Nada
mean the booze has run out at
the Last Chance Saloon.

Words exhaust themselves
Pandora’s box is empty
Apocalypse soon.

D.A. Prince
Cold spring of stasis:
point-scoring politics — but
new royal infant

Class wars get bloody:
Eton crushed at battle of
White Van v. Prius

Six per cent turnout,
and after the election?
Emigrate? — but where?

David Silverman
Ne’er cast a Clegg out
Nor send a Cameron packing
Before May is out.

What a farrago!
So Ukip if you want to.
I’m not for kipping.

Such a close-run thing.
There’s scarcely a Miliband
To separate them.

Max Ross
Time to leave the old,
Forget what was not to be,
And welcome new ways.

Next year I’ll be bold,
Inspired by all that I see
In untasted days.

Perhaps I’ll be told
That Fortune has favoured me
With a winning phrase.

Mike Morrison
Farage takes the reins —
Beer and cigarettes half-price:
What a splendid chap.

HS2 is axed,
Cowell gets a proper job;
MPs tell the truth.

Value-added tax
Cut to three-point-five per cent;
Oh look, flying pigs!

Carol Ann Duffy wrote a poem entitled ‘22 Reasons for the Bedroom Tax’. Your next challenge is to submit an amusing poem about a piece of government legislation. Please email entries (16 lines maximum) to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 14 January.


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