This time round, competitors were asked to provide poems about a bromance.
Pairings including Friedrich and Karl, Laurel and Hardy, Nigel and Donald lit up an entry that was witty, touching and generally pleasingly varied. I liked Chris O’Carroll’s ‘Boris and Donnie’, a twist on Jimmie Rodgers’s ‘Frankie and Johnny’. And Bill Greenwell had the same idea, only with David and Jonathan from the Book of Samuel as the loved-up duo. Commendations also go to Shirley Curran, Jonathan Pettman, A.C. Smith and John Morrison.
Basil Ransome-Davies’s entry transported me back to the 1970s, when real men wore chunky cream-and-brown hand-knit cardigans. He and his fellow winners, printed below, are rewarded with £25 each.
There’s a legend in Bay City
They don’t tell to strangers much,
Concerning a man in a cardigan
And his buddy, Detective Hutch.
I got some of the skinny
By bribing Huggy Bear.
He’d shuck and jive, then ‘Man alive!’
He chuckled, ‘What a pair!’
‘Man, that was made in Heaven.
They were sweethearts, you can bet.
It’s a proven fact, opposites attract,
Like a blond and a brunette.
‘You see, whenever Starsky
Or Hutch had a wandering eye
For a fancy skirt, they might get to flirt,
But the woman had to die.’
There’s nothing new to Bromance,
It’s not girly or grotesque
But a literary romance
Properly styled the ‘picaresque’.
Consider Twain’s creations,
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn,
Whose mutual admiration’s
Carried them through thick and thin.
All along the Mississippi
They have acted out our dreams;
Two boy-men, sassy, dippy,
Scheming wild, preposterous schemes.
Their ilk are in abundance
But it’s strictly guys, so, please
Think always Butch and Sundance,
Never Thelma and Louise.
Not many there are who
Play Cluedo with Trudeau,
Get it on with Macron.
Next month we’ll be seein’
Him hug the Korean —
Like everything else with our Don
It’s a con!
So don’t be deceived,
He should not be believed.
Soon all those world leaders
Will be left on the shelf.
They’ll be down in the dumps,
Thinking their hearts were Trump’s.
When the only true bromance
Is him with himself.
We met on the North Lawn — we met on the South,
Ah yes, I remember it well,
I was reflective — and I was all mouth,
I charmed — and by golly, I fell.
We talked of our meeting in Paris that night,
Gazing down from the Tower on the City of Light,
I championed the Left — no, you championed the
Ah yes, I remember it well.
Embracing like brothers — like brothers in arms,
We bonded — but didn’t quite gel.
I was for arms deals — I sounded alarms,
I’d barter — I’d blow them to hell!
We pined when we parted — I phoned every day,
I longed for the White House — or Champs
Where we’d felt for each other — in most every way.
Ah yes, I remember it well.
Their secret correspondence shows
That with each ruthless master move
Their mutual admiration grows
To form a gruff comradely love.
They find so much in common, share
Some ponderously blokeish quips
And even at one point compare
The way they dress their upper lips.
But what most bonds them is to know
The loneliness that comes to sour
The sense of triumph that should go
With exercising god-like power.
Josef and Adolf never met
Before they broke up, bromance dead;
Their fates divided them, and yet
They’re linked as moral twins instead.
The love I shared with Arthur was
Celestial, of purest form;
Wild, wonderful and ever warm
Transcending nature’s many flaws.
We shared our souls and understood
Profundities we did not speak;
Our love engulfed us, week on week,
Providing us with heaven’s food.
Will men in future months perchance
Regard the subject of my art
As something sprung from Cupid’s dart,
A monument to male romance?
I do not care. My love is seen
In lines that brought me years of pain;
Yet having lost I found again
Remembered buds of what had been.
Your next challenge is to submit a sonnet to a well-known contemporary figure’s characteristic feature. Email entries to email@example.com by midday on 6 June.