Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3633 Set by Ms Anne Thrope

You were asked for poems against children.

Report by Ms de Meaner

J R Till has written in, and I have been struck anew by how lovely handwriting looks when done with a good fountain pen: "I wonder if any reader besides myself entered for competition number 1391? [This was in 1956, the last time a child-hostile poetry comp was set, as I mentioned last week] I was lucky enough to win a guinea, sharing second prize with two others, one of whom was the late Stanley J Sharpless . . . Presumably," JR continues (a tad wistfully?), "I am not entitled to submit the same entry this time!" You presume correctly. However, I simply must quote two lines: " . . . I've no opposition to children as such:/It's children as children I find a bit much." Excellent. And I'm glad to know in time that: "In just over a month, I shall be entering my 90th year." May we at the NS wish you a very happy birthday. A guinea, eh? Hmm . . . £15 to winners; hon menshes to Stevie Smith and Henry Reed. The token goes to Will Bellenger.

Postscript. To the lady whose letter criticising the idea of a comp against children I quoted from last week: do you, perchance, have a son called Richard?

Today we have naming of parts.

This is the baseball cap,

To be worn reversed, you note,

And this is the mouth, used for demanding

A 3-D accelerator card and a DVD player,

Which in our case we have not yet got.

The teacher is talking of Shakespeare,

But today we have naming of parts.

This is the Game Boy.

It will run Pikachu, if you buy the cartridge,

Which in our case we have not yet got either,

Though only thirty-five quid next to the checkout.

The teacher is using the improbability

Of ever getting all the Pokemons

As an illustration of the laws of chance,

But today we have naming of parts.

This is the mobile phone.

It is used for scrambling any useful neural connections

That may have survived Marioland and Tomb Raider,

And for sending text messages across the classroom

During examinations.

The teacher has resigned

And opened a bar in Alicante,

But today we have naming of parts.

Andrew Wilcox

The town is fun now term's begun;

Past are the hols we hated;

In half a mile, no juvenile

Has shouted, sworn, or skated.

Now every stone is clean and sweet

Kids are no longer features;

Hooray! hooray! they've gone away

And only bother teachers.

Those little worms need twelve-month terms.

I've put to Mr Blunkett

That very scheme - or rather dream,

Because I fear he'll funk it.

Peter Lyon

Tracey Emin and her bed

are relatively kempt

beside the surly boys and girls

of which their parents dreamt.

Lounging in their wretched rooms,

they gawp like landed shark

at any screen. Or else they preen,

themselves until it's dark.

Larkin didn't have a clue.

The truth is his reverse.

They screw you down, and hit the town

by thieving from your purse.

Children bite the hands that feed

and bend them to their bidding.

You think they're angels, bound to change?

You must be fucking kidding.

Will Bellenger

Well done, Ffion! Well done, Will!

Diaphragm, condom, jab or pill,

Coil, or abstinence filled the bill;

And you're very responsibly child-free still.

Bravo, Sophie! Bravo, Ed!

Whatever it is you do in bed,

You're not into getting more Windsors bred;

You've got awfully useful jobs instead.

Splendid, Gordon! Sarah, too!

No noisy, worrisome sprogs in view,

No schooling, health costs, or benefits due;

No charge on the state - hats off to you!

Black marks, Tony - all those spares!

Appalling fecundity, four young Blairs!

Yet perhaps we'll forgo our scornful stares -

We'll need your kids to push our bath chairs.

Anne Du Croz

Nobody heard him, the wounded father

But he still lay moaning

He had to look after them much longer than he thought

He was not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he had always loved larking

And now he's knackered

It must have been the children's party

Eighteen four-year-olds, they said.

Oh, no no no, there were hundreds of them

(Still the dying one lay moaning)

And where the hell was my wife?

I'm not waving but drowning.

Gerry Morrow

No 3636 Set by John Crick

Less is heard these days of the Third Way. But what about the fun-lovers' Fourth Way? Send in zany, imaginative accounts of it or the country where they practise it. Up to 200 words by 6 July.


This article first appeared in the 26 June 2000 issue of the New Statesman, We made the people-smugglers rich