31 JANUARY 1970, Page 28


No. 590: Revisitations

Set by E. 0. Parrott: The holiday season will soon be upon us and we shall be off on long trips round historical monuments and famous birthplaces. Competitors are invited to provide a Shakespearian account of a visit by the Bard to his own birthplace as it is today, Scott on Abbotsford, Dr Johnson's account of his 1970 visit to his house in the City, Charlotte Brontë on a pilgrimage to a modern Haworth, Words- worth's ode on his recent visit to that cottage in the Lake District or any other similar modern revisitation. Maximum 120 words (14 lines of verse); entries, marked 'Compe- tition No. 590', by 13 February.

No. 587: The winners

Trevor Grove reports: Joyce Johnson, who set this week's competition, invited com- petitors to give an account of either the escape of the gunboats from Cherbourg into Haifa, or the capture of the radar warn- ing installation near the Gulf of Suez. as it might have been described by one of the Old Testament writers. A splendid notion and one which attracted an abnormally large and enjoyable entry. Attempts to sug- gest to us how a 'modern' Old Testament might read if it were being written today. though spirited enough, tended to fall rather flat: just too much like some of the Times's recent reporting to be funny. Three guineas to each of the following: Therefore when Degol knew that the Israelites had smitten the Egyptians, he was wroth, saying, verily Israel shall no wise have the five arks that the Chereb-Orgites have builded. But Degol being stricken in years, Pom-Pidu reigned in his stead. Then certain captains of the host of Gall, and they that did build arks in Chereb-Org, bethinking them of their hire, hearkened unto Limon the Israelite. And he spake unto them saying, sell ye the arks even unto whomsoever I shall appoint; that Pom- Pidu shall not be aware thereof. And behold, when the arks depart, then shall they pass over unto Israel. For where the Gallites consent not willingly unto the Law. verily the Law shall be held of none account.

W. F. N. Watson O Lord, Thou hast searched it out and known it!

Thou knowest its downsetting and its upstanding, Thou understood its presages of doom, They glared about Thy path and up toward Thy bed, It spiest out all Thy ways.

For lo, there is not a word in our tongue But Thou, 0 Lord, called out to us, And even there also didst Thou lead Thy people; Thou bade us take the darkness to cover us. Thou aided its unfastening behind and before, Thou raised it on the morning's wings. That Thy servants attain its knowledge. And yea, the darkness is no darkness, But the night is as clear as the day, As the darkness and light to Thee are both alike.

Jethro B. Tucket

1. It came to pass that the Israelites were beset on all sides: and their friends appeared as broken reeds.

2. And strangers from the lands beyond Ararat brought succour to Egypt: to Nas- ser gave they riches and machines of war.

3. And in the Wilderness of Shur they set an image, as it were of a graven ear, to spy upon Israel and to discover the secrets thereof.

4. Lo, this was an abomination unto the Lord, and his wrath waxed hot against Egypt.

5. And the Lord descended on the ear in pillars of sand: even in whirlwinds did he descend into Goshen.

6. And he lifted the ear into the whirl- winds and brought it privily into Canaan: and there was great rejoicing throughout Israel.

E. P. Heriz-Smith

And it came to pass that Mosha said How doth the enemy judge through the dark cloud? Walketh he in the circuit of heaven? Then answered the Lord, Behold now behemoth which I made with thee. He lieth in the covert of the reed and taketh all with his eye. Then Mosha made sacrifice of his eye and the Lord caused two cheru- bim, each twelve cubits high, and each wing of eight cubits, to make dreadful sounds in the enemy's ears with a rushing mighty wind. They discovered the behemoth to be made of shittim wood, brass and iron, and lifted it back to Israel out of the land of Egypt. An eye for an eye, said the Lord.

Margaret Cash Then did Mordecai come secretly to the house of Asahel.

And said, Lo, it is written in the name of the leader of the people, and in the name of a merchant of a northern land.

And only Asahel and Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter and Meshullam and Shabethai the Levite helped them with Johanan son, of Eliashib.

And in the third month, that is, the month of Sivan they set sail upon the waters north- wards.

But the angel of the Lord came to Asahel in a dream saying, Turn thy vessel about. For the Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people from the depths of the sea.

And Asahel turned his vessel and the vessels of them that were with him.

And they did sail south and east ...

Eileen M. Haggitt

NB some cunning borrowings from the original in Miss Haggitt's entry—from Ezra, Esther and Psalm 68. Honourable mention to H. E. Cubitt-Smith, who employed similar tactics, as well as to Elsie Moody, Vincent Strudwick, D. R. Smallwood, W. D. Gilmour and Douglas Hawson: 'Then went out certain strong

men of the Israelites and they came to Raydah where the image stood . . . The Lord sent a great bird out of the east . . and the name of the bird was Choppa.'