Spectator competition winners: poems about the goats of Llandudno

2 May 2020

9:00 AM

2 May 2020

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3146 you were invited to submit a poem about the goats of Llandudno, who recently ran amok through the Welsh seaside town.

It’s not just the caprine brigade who have been broadening their horizons with humankind under lockdown. Racoons have invaded Arkansas State Library, wild boars are roaming the streets of Bergamo and lions lie sparko in the middle of the road in Kruger national park. Maybe, as Frank McDonald suggests in the closing couplet of his delightful, insightful sonnet, there is a message in all this:

Perhaps these goats have come that man might see
A sign of how his world is going to be.

Nick Syrett’s Poe-inflected entry also foresaw a time when the beasts inherit the earth. He earns an honourable mention, as do Alan Millard, Chris O’Carroll, -Sylvia Fairley, R.M. Goddard, Frank Upton, Tim Raikes (who displayed impressive local knowledge) and The Parson for a nice reworking of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. The winners, printed below, earn £30 each.

Let me not to th’ambition of this herd
Admit impediments; goats are not goats
When kettled and confined while their preferred
arena’s not constrained by walls or moats.
Oh, no! they venture forth, to rich and strange,
From Great Orme heights to traffic-emptied streets,
To munch front-garden hedges, taste their range
And find in daffodils exotic treats.
Goats are not fools, knowing how Nature will
Abhor a vacuum; they play their part
To populate Llandudno and to fill
Life’s vacancy with Capricorn-themed art.
If this be terror or the goats removed
Man’s lack of tolerance to Nature’s proved.
D.A. Prince

Do not go gentle through Llandudno’s lanes;
Riot inside this human habitation.
Upon the pavements leave your goaty stains.

Though people suffer pestilence and pains
Make of their sorrow cause for celebration.
Do not go gentle through Llandudno’s lanes.

Enjoy the freedom in your savage veins;
Run, climb and jump in animal elation.
Upon the pavements leave your goaty stains.

Take what you will; whatever food remains
Is yours to munch. Enjoy your liberation.
Do not go gentle through Llandudno’s lanes.

And make the most of all these goatish gains
Found in the midst of human isolation.
Do not go gentle through Llandudno’s lanes;
Upon the pavements leave your goaty stains.
Max Ross

Beware Llandudno’s goats if you’ve still got stuff to sell.
Those goats will steal it all and eat the packaging as well,
Ignoring social distancing and sanitising gel
As they go munching on.

They’ll clear the shelves in Tesco and they’ll empty Marks and Sparks.
Illegal groups of three or more will congregate in parks
Where they’ll pay no heed to warnings or the public’s snide remarks.
They’ll just go munching on.

But goats are bright and soon they’ll find there really are a lot
Of simpler ways to get supplies of what the shops have got.
And once they’ve joined Ocado they will find it living proof
That their shopping need not all be ‘on the hoof’.
Martin Parker

Beneath that Welsh veneer of Chapel
Lurks a primal goatishness,
And many find it hard to grapple
With the current hard duress.

Young Rhodri gasps:‘It breaks my heart!
I can’t, I simply can’t adjust
To keeping six long feet apart
From Bronwen, object of my lust?’

Throughout North Wales the air is thick
With yearning and testosterone.
Young Rhodri seethes, Bron’s heart is sick,
But each must suffer quite alone.

When on their streets we see goats herd,
A Freudian analyst might suggest
It’s neither random nor absurd,
But the return of the repressed.
George Simmers

With the ardour of Achilles,
Ajax coursing through our horns,
We are nannies, we are billies,
Braving Conwy’s early dawns:

Where you exeunt, we’ll enter,
Grazing on each privet bush,
Traipsing through the shopping centre
As if it were the Hindu Kush.

We see you have an ‘Alice’ trail!
By the juices in our rumen,
That’s a tale beyond our pale,
The sort of tripe that gets our human.

Atomic war, or just a virus?
You were absent, that we did know:
Mmm, these bluebells, bearded iris —
Come back, not too soon, Llandudno!
Bill Greenwell

No. 3149: lockdown lit

You are invited to tweak an existing book or poem title for lockdown (e.g. Wigan Pier is Closed, ‘Not Upon Westminster Bridge’) and submit an extract of up to 150 words or a poem of up to 16 lines. Please email entries to by midday on 13 May. NB. We are unable to accept postal entries for the time being. 

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