In Competition No. 1552 you were asked for an acrostic poem in the style of a well-known poet, the first letters of each line spelling out the poet's name or names (initials allowed).
A vast and skilful entry, ranging from Ovid and Baudelaire (in Latin and French), to Cavafy (in translation), to Roger McGough, and including one dou- ble acrostic. The roll of honour would fill one side of a war memorial, but the most distinguished soldiers were Peter Norman, Martin Fagg, Nicholas Murray, James Teb- butt, P. Simeoni and V. M. Cornford. The poet most often used turned out to be Philip Larkin. Generosity is the spirit of the season, so the first four winners printed below get £14 apiece and the last three £10. The bonus bottle of Cockburn's Late Bot- tled Vintage Port 1982, kindly presented by Cockburn Smithes & Co. Ltd, goes to 0. Smith.
Grace, God, to grow, grace grant me; do not grudge. Earthborn, earthbound, I strain, I strive to rise. Rooks, see now, how they reel, they rake the skies; All creatures blame me, shame me, 0 my judge. Restless, I roam; down deeps of darkness trudge. Daily despairing, faith on deathbed lies; Misery more mortal no man may surmise. Helpless, I founder, flounder in sins' sludge; Only of all things I this May month mar. Peonies spurt fire, and skylarks soar and sing; Kingcups spill gold, bright as the evening star. Imploring, to this one last hope I cling: No longer, let my gloom their gladness jar. Send me thy grace; stir up my sullen Spring. (0. Smith) Joan Hunter Dunn, Joan Hunter Dunn, Often I've thought of our innocent fun,
Holding you close on that night in the car, Never before had I gone quite so far, Both of us seized with the raptures of youth, Eager, excited, not guessing the truth;. That affair proved to be painfully short ('John is, quite frankly, not one of our sort'); End of engagement; what else could we do? Mad I was, sad I was, that it fell through. All's well that ends well. How happy I am, Now I'm engaged to a sports-girl named Pam.
(Stanley J. Sharpless) My, Jim Sillars — but you're a very spunkie mon!
Conquering for the Cause in a manner not seen since Hamilton.
Great our rejoicing when that bonnie wee lassie, Winnie Ewing, On a famous night in '67, set about our hopes' renewing,
Notching up 18,397 votes, and winning by 1,799, A majority, in a Labour stronghold, deemed exceedingly fine.
Glorious Govan has now seen you, Jim, trium- phing by a margin of 3,554 — A result that only Tartan traitors and snarling Sassenachs will deplore.
Let us remember that a former Govan victor was your sonsie wife, Margo. Long may you both live and prosper — and very, very far go!
Partly because the shops were shut, and I Had left my bicycle behind at work, I wandered through a suburb of the city Looking in windows. An instructive walk.
In this stale place, whose character was known, Parts of it hadn't learnt their proper role. Lanes sidled off to some undreamed-of bourne; A lake was smooth behind a broken wall.
Riding home later, the surprise dispersed, Knowing a person, too, we fail to heed Illuminating angles unrehearsed, Not caring to distort what we have made. (Jermyn Thynne) What is that, my friend, you hold? Heart's ease is not bought with gold. Do you seek to own the air?
Are you not content to share?
Vanity no man can keep If he'll bide with cows and sheep.
Every penny that you bear Springs a trap your soul to snare. (Noel Petty) every time i say i will not ever, ofer, ever call you again, and every time i deny our love unconditionally my mind runs over what I might lose and then my loins, and i, weaken and negotiate gifts and
sex (B. C. Pires)
Adieu sweet womankinde who prayse my prikke!
Now am I dying, now my ende is near. Once more mayke glad my bedd befor my bier. No lagging! Ere I'm dead you must be quicke.