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Poems on the triggering of Article 50

18 February 2017

2:00 PM

18 February 2017

2:00 PM

The request for poetic previews of the day Article 50 is triggered produced passionate voices from both sides of the Brexit divide with many of you recruiting distinguished poets to your cause. D.A. Prince cleverly appropriated ‘Vitaï Lampada’, Sir Henry Newbolt’s tribute to English patriotism: ‘There’s a dread-filled rush in the House tonight/ With Article 50 poised to go,/ After lies black as pitch and the blind claiming sight/ And nothing to halt, now, the whole sorry show’; Jennifer Moore’s entry channelled the spirit of Dr Seuss: ‘The sun did not shine./ We were too sad to work,/So we cut out Farage/ And threw darts at his smirk.’ And Paul Carpenter reworked Gray’s ‘Elegy’: ‘The curfew tolls the knell of lost UK…’ Nice work all round.

Nigel Stuart and Jack William Ruddy earn commendations, Basil Ransome-Davies pockets £35 and his fellow winners take £30.

Basil Ransome-Davies

The Martian tv viewers were convulsed by ribald
mirth;

Some fool had pulled the Brexit trigger down on
Planet Earth.

They would have pissed themselves were they
designed in human fashion.

The Martian sense of humour does not entertain

   compassion.

 

The Thames was choked with suicides. The
looters stripped the shops.

The medics were as helpless as the clerics and

   the cops.

The dogs of fear ran in the streets, the loathing
was titanic.

Not even David Attenborough could counteract
the panic.

 

The Germans sadly shook their heads. The

   French shrugged ‘Eh, alors?’

As Brexit raised the Devil to destroy the rule of
Law

And Britain sank beneath the waves in

   sulphurous expiry,

Too late to mend the severed bond, too late for

   an Inquiry.

 

The Martian mind is frolicsome, the Martians’

   style sardonic,

Their lowbrow taste incurable, their
schadenfreude chronic.

Their idea of a hoot’s the ruination of a nation.

Reality tv on Mars is quite a Revelation.

 

Alan Millard

The filibustering’s finished. Fog

Descends at dawn, the squabbling’s done,

It’s time to end the dialogue

And pull the trigger on the gun.

 

From Dover’s cliff the bullet goes

At lightning speed to Europe’s shore

Where, crying havoc, Britain’s foes

Let slip, at last, the dogs of war.

 Today it starts, today we wend

Our way through battles wearisome,

O, that a man might know the end

Of this day’s business ’ere it come!

 

But come it will, and fighting back

We’ll break that continental link

And know if, after all the flak,

This Sceptred Isle will float or sink.

 

Nicholas Stone

Mrs May is playing poker.

David Davis holds the joker.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s going spare.

Trump defibrillates his hair.

 

Daniel Hannan tries to barter

NHS for Magna Carta.

Sturgeon’s in a tartan bind.

Farron’s out of sight and mind.

 

Philip Hammond’s sweating buckets

Over florins, groats and duckets.

Diane Abbot’s gone to pieces:

From today free movement ceases.

 

Jezza knows not what to do.

Nigel’s drinking from a shoe.

Michael’s playing with the matches.

Boris sits and grins and scratches.

 

W.J. Webster

Farewell to the Union! It’s done with!

We were never exactly conjoined,

And it altered from what we’d begun with

As fancier titles were coined.

The CAP never fitted our farmers,

Our trawlers were left high and dry;

Obscured by late-night melodramas

New treaties went through on the sly.

What Brussels decreed became legal

Whether Parliament liked it or not;

The panjandrums grew more and more regal,

Though plainly ‘all mouth, nul culottes’.

Farewell to the Union, we’re splitting,

So they can pursue their own dream:

We’ll have only laws we think fitting

And our courts will again be supreme.

 

Martin Parker

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part;

For we are done, they’ll get no more from us.

But we’d be glad, yes, glad with all our heart

To end it cleanly without hate or fuss,

Shake hands for ever, go our separate ways

And when we meet at any time again

Not have it seen in calmer future days

That we one jot of enmity retain.

Now as we trigger unity’s last breath

And, stricken, common purpose stranded lies

When bitterness may bring a pain-wracked

   death

To that which should have brought us painless
ties.

Now, if we can, when all the shouting’s over

Our former friendships may we soon recover.

Your next challenge is to compose a poem making the case for a commemorative day for a person or thing of your choice. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 1 March.

 

 

 


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