In Competition No. 3236, you were invited to submit a poem that begins ‘Oh my love is like…’ .
From the funny and sweet to the waspish and jaundiced, the entry ranged pleasingly far and wide; as the poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote in his sonnet ‘The Hospital’ (‘A year ago I fell in love with the functional ward/ Of a chest hospital…), ‘But nothing whatever is by love debarred…’
Commendations go to Nicholas Hodgson, Adrian Fry, Mary McLean and Richard Spencer. The winners, printed below, earn their authors £25 each.
O My Love is like a sad old lag
That’s newly sprung from jail.
My love is like a jiffy bag
Recycled in the mail.
But still for you, my bonny lad
They hold what’s tried and true.
Though both have weathered good and bad
They still do what they do.
The one is tentative and slow
The other slack and battered;
But both have many miles to go
And hold what’s always mattered.
And still for you, my bonny lad
My love is tried and true
And though it’s weathered good and bad
It’s always here for you.
O my love is like a battleaxe,
Her language rough and salty.
Hard-hearted as the Income Tax,
She channels Sybil Fawlty.
Her raucous shouts of ‘Basil!’ fill
The staircase and the hall.
The gaslighting persists until
I’m going up the wall.
I’d nursed a dream of happiness,
Of romance everlasting,
But who can ever second-guess
What dice the gods are casting?
Should Eros lead you up the creek
It’s vain to sob and fret.
If you can’t get the love you seek,
Then love the one you get.
O, my love, is like a turning
Wheel, a ring, a nimbus burning —
Or a coiling ouroboros,
Or an orbit or a torus.
All around me, I’m discerning
Signs of O, for whom I’m yearning
Always, with emotions churning.
Let us roundly praise, in chorus,
O, my love.
Any lettered poet earning
Honours in the halls of learning,
Versed in Shakespeare, Burns and Horace
Lauds, with passion and thesaurus,
Every little thing concerning
O, my love.
O my love is like a shooting star
Ablaze ’cross boundless skies;
Shall I behold eternity
Reflected in thine eyes?
Thou art a beauteous bonnie lass:
Dearest, I burn to know
If thou wilt have me, Alison;
Fain would I be thy Jo
Then should we feel the heft of time —
Nay, seize him by the scruff,
Whirl in the world’s eternal dance
Till he do sigh, Enough!
Our love would be a pendulum
Tick-tocking out the days;
Tho’ I confess me, Alison,
My love doth swing both ways.
O my love is like a dry, red wine
That’s piquant, sharp and tart,
A lass, alas, who rarely warms
The cockles of my heart.
As dear she is, my stroppy spouse,
There’s something gone amiss,
However ardently I plead,
Ne’er cuddle we, nor kiss.
Yet love her still I always shall,
Till all the wine runs dry,
Till all that’s left to drink is dregs
To love her still I’ll try.
Of loving her I’ll never tire.
Though me she loathes and spurns
I’ll prove my love runs just as deep
As once ran Rabbie Burns’.
O, my love is like a jazz trombone
Perhaps with bass and drums:
It slides serenely in and out
And rapture surely comes.
Which jazzman will he be next time?
Chris Barber, smooth, polite?
Glenn Miller, gifted in technique
But tending to the trite?
Jack Teagarden has all the skills
But seldom breaks a sweat;
Vic Dickenson’s more whimsical —
Appealing, this; and yet
For primal passion I prefer
Kid Ory, Satchmo’s mate:
Coarse tho’ his sounds, his rhythmic thrust
Means climaxes await.
No. 3239: bookish
Sajid Javid is a big fan of Ayn Rand and Justin Trudeau loves Stephen King. You are invited to submit political manifestos inspired by literary heroes (please specify). Please email entries of up to 150 words to email@example.com by midday on 2 March.
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