IN Competition No. 1471 you were asked for a `Triolet de Reproche' — an idea from a New Statesman competition asking for 'suggestions for the most boring Spectator competition imaginable'.
`I'll wager Basil, Ginger, George, dear old E. 0. and all the gang will be rather miffed when they discover that a "Triolet de Reproche" has no connection with a normal triolet but is a whingeing three- liner named after my friend Kevin (Tin Ear) Reproche. The first two lines are of any length or metre but must rhyme. The third is traditionally short and has a dying fall, e.g.:
Roses are rose, violets are violet.
You might think a verse with three lines would be called a triolet.
But it isn't.'
Ignoring this distracting communication from Bob Scott, a winner of the Statesman competition, I stuck to the conventional definition which is rigid about the rhyme- scheme and number of lines, but seems to leave the length of line open to choice. The best known triolet is probably Austin Dobson's irritating 'I intended an Ode) And it turn'd to a Sonnet', which is entitled (can anybody tell me why?) `Urceus Exit'. Some of yours turned in even stranger directions, and reproach often degenerated into abuse. But it was a good entry. The winners below get £10 each, and the bonus bottle of Mumm's Cordon Bleu Cham- pagne, the gift of Mr Gaston Berlemont, goes to Martin Fagg.
To make a boring film of Scoop Requires some skill. They did it. Though Such adaptations often droop, To make a boring film of Scoop
ltselfs a scoop. With such a troupe
Of seasoned hams and bags of dough, To make a boring film of Scoop Requires some skill — they did it though.
(Martin Fagg) He la, des spectateurs Sont bien loyaux, n'est-ce pas?
Quelques competiteurs - Helm, des spectateurs — S'addressent sans peur, sans coeur, Au Nouvel Homme d'Etat.
He la, des spectateurs Sont bien loyaux, n'est-ce pas? (David Heaton) To Colonel Lovelace, Gone to the Wars
I must maintain you are unkind To canter off in martial mood. You could have easily declined; I must maintain you are unkind.
When you have fought (and wined and dined) You might recall that all your brood
I must maintain. You are unkind
To canter off in martial mood. (Noel Petty) What happens to you really gorgeous girls? You shack up with the grisliest of chaps. Why blast your flower of life as it unfurls? What happens to you really gorgeous girls To blitz your wits? It's baffling. Perfect pearls - For swine! It's some dark Dido urge perhaps. What happens to you really gorgeous girls? You shack up with the grisliest of chaps. (Andrew McEvoy) I said 'the Gare du Nord', not 'the hotel'.
Don't try to make me play your stupid game. I waited there for hours. You know damn well I said 'the Gare du Nord', not 'the hotel'. I tried to spot you in the rush-hour swell, Patrolling up and down till I was lame. I said 'the Gare du Nord', not 'the hotel': Don't try to make me play your stupid game. Basil Ransome-Davies) Farewell, familiar field: They've planned a Leisure Centre. With gaping wounds unhealed, Farewell; familiar field, To bricks and mortar yield . . .
Now walkers may not enter. Farewell, familiar field!
They've planned a Leisure Centre. (Loveknot Parsons)
Disloyalty I admit to, but the winning
Is — as you know — decided by the gods. So drop the pose 'more sinned against than sinning'.
Disloyalty I admit to, bin the winning,
That ego-trip, that purring, preening, grinning,
That's genius triumphing against great odds. Disloyalty I adrhit to. But the winning
Is — as you know — decided by the gods. (D. A. Prince)