Rhyme time

6 July 2013

9:00 AM

6 July 2013

9:00 AM

In Competition 2804 you were invited to supply a poem containing as many ingenious rhymes as possible. Ogden Nash, one of the great rhymesters of recent times, said, ‘I think in terms of rhyme, and have since I was six years old.’ And though rhyme may fall in and out of favour, its power is undeniable: from early childhood its soothing pulse aids memory and satisfies the mind’s craving for pattern. The winners earn £25 each. Brian Allgar takes £30.


Though ‘Mozart’ denotes art, we don’t give a goat’s
For Cosi Fan Tutte or Don Giovanni;
They shove down our throats art that’s high as a
stoat’s fart—
We’d rather watch footie with beer and a sarnie.


If somebody quotes art, we put on our coats. Art
Is just for the birdies, the nerdies, the weirdies.
This ‘too many notes’ art is not-worth-two-groats
So nuts to your Verdis, and suchlike old beardies.


With drivel like Haydn’s, the culture gap widens,
And Schubert to you, Bert, is boring and wooden.
This muck they call music makes both me and you
(Though Parry — Sir Hubert — came up with a
good ’un).


To those who cry ‘Play us the great Amadeus’,
Or ‘Let’s have some Dvorak, some Bach, some
You’d have to belay us, or flay us, or pay us
To swallow your score, Jack. Now, what’s on the
Brian Allgar


Oh Mister Gove, how quick and slick you are
To spot the rot in things curricular,
While we dull dotes, despite our folly, see
The light of your epistemology
And, following your lead, are led, agog,
To pastures new by you, our pedagogue
And paradigm, our new-found Socrates
And rising star of stalwart stock, at ease
With scholarship; the rod of God you are,
A club to clobber all things modular
And cull the curse of course-work — substitute
Outdated grades with points, and snub till mute
The protests of the proletariat;
Oh prince of prose who knows just where we’re at
And how the road ahead might undulate
Progress us all we pray from one to eight.
Alan Millard


What a show, a charivari!
Will they copulate and marry?
Will they flummox or bamboozle
With a bestial refusal?
What commotion, what a stir, a
Buzz that beats the busy Curragh
Here in quiet Edinburgh!
Not from cat or capybara,
Nor from moose or mouse or mara,
This is something bigger, grander,
Grander than a jacaranda
Causing loads of propaganda.
Can the eager public stand a
Second failure? They’ll demand a
Fix, some tricks or helping hand, a
Way to win a pregnant panda.
Frank McDonald


Antic and frantic and antediluvian,
Monument massive, impassive, magnificent,
Kitsch which is rich as the Inca Peruvian,
Omnium-gatherum, omnibeneficent,


Fashioned with passion, a festival sculptural,
Multiform, vermiform, multidimensional,
Menhir memorious, mass-multicultural,
Scorning conformalist classic conventional,


Solemn sepulchral, sombre funereal
Fief for the grief-stricken Empress of India,
Dateless as sorrow and weightless as Ariel,
Scion of iron when weather wears windier.


Work is the theme and the dream is sensational,
Magic, majestical phantasmagoria,
Seeking the skies in a guise inspirational,
Votive, emotive, VICTORIA GLORIA.
John Whitworth


Fellows named Ben, if fer-
ociously clever,
Win women named Jennifer
Now and for ever.


Fellows named Del, any-
body knows well,
Find lasses named Melanie
Awesomely swell.


Fellows named Jeff, an e-
bullient group,
Find ladies named Stephanie
Inside their loop.


And fellows named Zack, well-in-
tentioned and pally,
Find maidens named Jacqueline
Right up their alley.
Mae Scanlan


In this surge-time of the computer
The urge for rhyme has become acuter,
Leaving us needier (though not speedier),
In rhyming electronic media or Wikipedia.
As rare and spare as a Pinter set
Are rhymes for software and internet,
You may patrol house and street
for control-alt-delete,
And while domain-name is easy game, try at your
To rhyme url,
Or to decide a
Rhyme for your web-provider.
Beg as you might, things are frugal
for megabyte and for Google,
But a pox on X-box, and the best rhyme for spam
Is damn!
Brian Murdoch

No. 2807: hatchet job

In 1865 Henry James wrote a brutal review of Our Mutual Friend. You are invited to submit a hatchet job by a well-known author of your choice on a book or poem by another well-known writer (150 words/16 lines). Please email entries to by midday on 17 July.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments