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Spectator competition winners: Jeremy Corbyn’s sonnet for Diane

29 October 2016

9:45 AM

29 October 2016

9:45 AM

The invitation to submit poems written by the Labour party leader was initially inspired by the recent publication by Shoestring Press of an anthology of Poems for Jeremy Corbyn. But another excellent reason to set this challenge is that Mr Corbyn does actually write poems: ‘I do write quite a bit of poetry myself,’ he told an audience at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston.

The entries came in thick and fast and the standard was terrific. Honourable mentions go in particular to Brian Murdoch, Paul Carpenter, John Whitworth, Rip Bulkeley and Josh Ekroy.

The winners below are rewarded with £20 each.

David Silverman
Shall I compare thee to Theresa May?
Thou art more lovely and more socialist:
More Corbynista thou than fashionista;
More fair art thou to me, in every way.
Stay by my side and be my Frida Kahlo;
Oh, come and be my red under the bed,
Or, in th’immortal words of Gary Barlow
Stay with me, girl, we’ll rule the world instead.
Join Strictly — give it everything you’ve got!
Your grace would put Ann Widdecombe to
      shame —
Go for it! Put the Trot into foxtrot,
The sex into Home Secs — are you not game?
Though traitors sneer, I’ll always be your fan:
We’ll keep the red flag flying here, Diane.

Bill Greenwell
if you listen to the usual rumours
spread by the old Tory blues
you shouldn’t eat pitta & hummus
      not even in sensible shoes

hummus is wrong to be seen with
      on platforms, it isn’t too kosher
‘the garbanzo is a bad bean’: myth
      you read in a Way Forward brochure

if you’ve had conversations with hummus
      & lent your best name to its cause
it’s as if you are carrying tumours
      & slavering out of your jaws

so support hummus today my friend
      though they lay it on with a trowel
when they denounce us, we do not offend
      while they’re using the wrong vowel

Max Ross
I’m Jeremy Corbyn, my hero is Robin
Though people believe I’m a hood;
But take it for sure that I’ll side with the poor
And all my intentions are good.
I challenge the rich as a saint does a witch,
And a city man suffers my jeers,
While rebels who strive for the freedom to live
Are the heroes who merit my cheers.
I am Jeremy plain who asserts his disdain
For the grandees who trample us down;
And of course I abhor every mention of war
For to fight is the way of a clown.
There are bits of the beast in a bishop and priest,
And religion is long out of fashion.
But strange to relate one exception I make:
An Abbott can stir up my passion.

Merryn Williams
Bliar, Bliar, burning bright,
In the pathways of the night,
How enormous is the lie
Can equal your depravity?

Spectre from a gruesome past,
You were first and now are last.
Now is now and then was then,
So please, don’t spit at nobler men.

Bliar, Bliar, thing of night,
Go to where the price is right.
Preach to others, not to me
Your gospel of depravity.

D.A. Prince
I’m one with the hopeless,
the plotless, the hapless,
the clueless, the viewless,
the low-key and sap-less.

I speak with the soft-voiced,
the muted, slow-thinking,
the muddled, deluded,
the seatless, the sinking.

I know there are bullied —
both beaten and whipped.
I wince when I hear of
their splits, the foul-lipped.

O Unity, blend us
together in bands
as brothers and sisters
and all holding hands.

George Simmers
I walked through dismal London streets
With Diane, hand in hand,
And sweetness filled our hearts, although
It was a Tory land.

For as we walked through Islington
We talked, as lovers do,
Of conference resolution
Composite 22.

Perhaps our love was too intense
And could not hope to last.
We parted. Much has happened since,
And toilsome years have passed.

Yet thinking of her now still brings
A stirring to my blood.
And that’s why I’ve promoted her
To shadow Amber Rudd.

Frank McDonald
If all the world was happy
And every pleasure free,
If rich and poor went arm in arm
I still would disagree.
If wars were all forgotten
And every kid could play,
If no one called a neighbour names
My tongue would holler ‘Nay!’
If kings went round in cotton
And beggars sported lace
I’d look around with careful eye
And see it as disgrace.
And though it may surprise you
To witness my success,
The reason for my rise to fame
Is never saying ‘yes’.

Your next challenge is to submit a resignation letter from God (150 words maximum). Please email entries to by midday on 9 November.

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