No. 1229: The winners
Jaspistos reports: Competitors were asked for a poem in the form of a curse called down by a customer on the head of someone providing bad service.
What sparked me to set this competition, apart from being sold a wickless candle and a yolkless egg in the same week, was James Stephens's poem by a very queer customer beginning, 'That lanky hank of a she in the inn over there/Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer' and ending with the splendid wish, 'May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may/The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange!' Waiters, garagemen, plumbers and com- petition setters got their expected due of in- sults, but, astonishingly, the most un- popular of all proved to be nurserymen see the winning entry by Andrew Hodgson, who, as a vicar, seems to know his maledic- tory onions. Among the best losers was 0. Banfield, who cleverly refused the sitting supermarket target in favour of:
Let's curse the little women Who keep the corner-shops, Their over-friendly service, The talk that never stops ...
Nine pounds each to the winners printed below. Roger Woddis's entry was far too good to disqualify on the grounds that it ended with a threat rather than a curse.
Take him, 0 Lord, from the counter Where he lounges with insolent ease, And if his responses are languid Inflict on him arthritic knees.
Take him, 0 Lord, from the kitchen Whence he shouts in a hectoring voice, 'This is your lot, so be glad what you've got.' Let him die of an agonised choice.
Take her, 0 Lord, from the cash queue Where her friends are allowed to go past. Convey them all straight up to Heaven But explain that the first shall be last.
Take him, 0 Lord, from the Gas Board Where he acts as a hot-water-spoiler.
Dispatch him directly to Hell, Lord, And require him to service their boiler.
( J. H. M. Donald) Botrytis blast your plants with mould, Your seedlings perish in the cold, Millions of aphids suck your beans, And club-root riot in your greens, Your onions all succumb to rot, Your roses show the dread black spot, May big bud all your currants spoil, And eel-worms colonise your soil, Each May bring you the carrot fly, Wilt cause your potted plants to die, Leaf-curl your peaches corrugate, All your precautions be too late, Your setting fruit untimely drop, And hail-stones decimate each crop.
Pests plague you till, a good spit deep, You're buried in your compost-heap!
'You'll pardon me; I had so much to tell To Gabriel my friend and colleague; it's A busy time of year in Heaven and Hell • • • I'd say snowed under, but that hardly fits The latter with ... ha! ha! ... their central heating. Now what's your name? You've said alreadY twice?
Yes, yes. The inconvenience of repeating Your name a few times is, you realise,
Nothing sub specie aeternitatis. So many think they have some special need.,
All wait their turn, however great their part is'
Now, what's the time? Good grief, I have to feed!
I only have an hour for lunch at most.
You'll have to join that rather lengthy queue ...'
Such therapy cannot be said to reduce The stress of high office or help me hang loose, Your trade doesn't match its description — fact, You'll be charged with committing a breach of the Act. (Roger Woddis) Accursed the counter-girl who chatters, Keeps you waiting while she natters Of fabled youths called Wayne or Ed, And which of them is tops in bed, And so-and-so's engagement ring, And how she dreamt last night of Sting, Then, when you venture to address
Her, flays you with a testy ' Yes?'
Oh may the bitch receive her dues By standing evermore in queues In supermarkets — then have posed
In front of her: 'This Checkout Closed'.
Dead prematurely, may St Peter At heaven's very portal mete her Retribution — make her wait A billion years outside his gate.
That's what you did to me. When you're a ghost I May great St Peter do it all to you.
What kind of establishment, madam, is Griffin) That bears such a misleading sign on its doors' Inviting the weary to wander inside In search of the service you fail to provide?
I came seeking treatment for muscular strain And cool soothing hands for my feverish brain' But, once in the cubicle, what did I find? Relief of a totally different kind.
I'd always supposed that a sauna was where , A man could find refuge from life's wear and tear, And though I don't like to condemn nlY masseuse,
I've never beheld such equipment as hers.
A billion years outside his gate. (Jonathan Fernside)