There was a good response to the call for poems on a political theme entitled ‘May day’ but the mood was overwhelmingly bleak despite the efforts of a relentlessly optimistic few, Tim Raikes and Alanna Blake among them. There was much to admire though, including a neat riff from Frank McDonald on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 — ‘Shall Maggie be compared to Theresa May/ Who is more cautious and more temperate?’, a ‘Jabberwocky’-inspired submission from Andrew Bamji and Alex Lynford’s clever Blakean turn. Nicholas Hodgson, Martin John, George Simmers, G.M. Davis, John Whitworth and Michael Copeman were on top form too.
The winners are printed below and earn their authors £30 apiece. The extra fiver is Alan Millard’s.
It might be wise to celebrate Theresa May’s success,
Thought Boris, pouring mayonnaise upon his watercress;
The wily, erstwhile London Mayor was keen to make amends
For mayhem caused by mishaps past that duly riled his friends.
It could, mayhap, be politic to flatter her with praise
In lieu of Mayday chaos he’d create in future days.
If angered she would crush him like a May bug underfoot
And, short-lived as a mayfly, his career would go kaput.
He’d laud her as a maya blessed with supernatural might
Or the maypop’s passion flower fruit that tastes of pure delight.
He’d moot a day of maying and afford the realm a chance
To salute her coronation with a festive maypole dance
And thereby crown her May queen, the epitome of style,
The Mayfair shoe shop maven and repentant Europhile.
Thus, by his canny, cunning plan he’d cause no more dismay,
And, maybe, as Prime Minister, be in her shoes one day.
She sets a maypole in the street
outside Hell’s own front door
and friends crowd round to find what treat
their May day has in store.
To many she gives ribbons, plus
a smile that scarce conceals
the cold, Home Counties Borgia
in her steel-tipped kitten heels.
Her nod then sets them dancing
with the confidence of hope
as the maypole turns to gibbet
and each ribbon to a rope.
And soon the heartless crowds pass by
and mock each wretched soul
that hangs there in the ribbons
woven tightly round her pole.
It was Theresa and her axe,
With a hey and a ho and a no Georgie O,
Who felled with the speed of lumberjacks,
In the spring time, the many changes ring time
When May is queen and courtiers court her
And mayhem means political slaughter.
So those around her pay respect;
With a hey and a ho and the Gove had to go,
And practise being circumspect
In the spring time, the let the changes ring time
When May is queen and gives no quarter
But might reward a staunch supporter.
There was one joker in her pack
With a hey and a ho and a Bo-Joey show
To leave the pundits taken aback
In the May time, the making early hay time.
Help me! On our battle bus,
Theresa was not ‘one of us’.
I now concede her, she’s my leader.
But how to prove I’m loyal? Discuss.
SOS! When I applaud
The new PM, if I’m ignored,
I’m out of joint. Her brownie points, sir —
How may I add some to my hoard?
Erk! In my Blue Army Fraktion,
TM is not the main attraction.
What aims and vows should I espouse
To save me from a labefaction?
Succour, please! I was an Outer,
And she was Inner. Should I doubt her?
Why don’t I choose to say J’accuse?
Or is she Matron (if devouter)?
May day, May day, Corbyn’s coming,
Sell your shares and buy up gold;
Leave your mansions, take to slumming,
Britain’s sinking, truth be told.
May day, May day, Labour’s losing
Any dignity it had;
You are in for revelations
If you thought that Blair was bad.
May day, May day, Corbyn’s winning,
Worzel Gummidge is a king.
Is this Parliament we’re seeing
Or a psychiatric wing?
May day, May day, come back Gordon,
Save your ship from going down.
Pantomime’s the Opposition
And its leader is a clown.
John Sutherland wrote a book called Orwell’s Nose. Let’s have a poem about a body part of an author of your choosing. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to email@example.com by midday on 17 August.