Competition

Trigger point

16 February 2017

3:00 PM

16 February 2017

3:00 PM

In Competition No. 2985 you were invited to provide a poetic preview of the day Article 50 is triggered.
 
There were 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.

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.
Basil Ransome-Davies
 
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.
Alan Millard
 
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.
Nicholas Stone
 
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.
W.J. Webster
 
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.
Martin Parker

 

No 2988: mark making

You are invited 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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