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Competition No 3851

Set by Gavin Ross, 27 September

You were asked for modern versions of prayers or hymns for modern-day people: accountants, stockbrokers, etc.

Report by Ms de Meaner

Lots of superb entries, including M E

Ault's almost triumph ("God is working

his balance out for each financial year./ God is adding his columns up and all's becoming clear"). £20 to the winners, the best of whom (Herbie N Tree) also gets the Tesco vouchers.

Once in royal David's city

Stood a lowly cattle shed,

Which, with careful alteration,

Could be two recep, three bed.

Lord in heaven, hear our prayers -

Turn it into a des res.

Though our houses may be perfect,

Yet our lives leave much to do:

Unappealing period features,

Rooms we'd rather shut to you.

Lest to sin we keep reverting,

Hearts, like lofts, will need converting.

And our eyes at last shall see it,

At our own completion dates,

In that sought-after location

Just inside the pearly gates.

But we cannot come, Great One,

'Til we have a survey done.

Nicholas Hodgson

Lord of all stock-trading, Lord of all gain

Whose trusts still expanding no doubts can detrain;

Be there in our barter and bring us, we pray,

New hope in our prospects at the break of the day.

Lord of all share dealing and dividend,

Whose risk-taking skills grow with each new godsend,

Be there in our interest, at each new outlay

With lunch for our souls, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of commuters and home-going rush,

Your seat quick to find one, your arms to thwart crush,

Be there at our home-time: design us, we pray,

A clutter-free hearth, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of St John's wort and of herbal tea,

Whose voice is de-stressing, whose solace comes free,

Be there at our bedtime and cast us, we pray,

A quilt to count sheep in at the close of the day.

Herbie N Tree

Mine eyes have seen the vision of the chairman of the board,

Of the mystic island havens where his bonuses are stored,

And his bankers sing his praises as they cry with one accord:

Keep the share price moving on.

He's manipulated markets making profits out of loss,

Which the CEO has moved offshore, tax boundaries to cross,

With nods and winks from auditors who couldn't give a toss,

If the share price moves along!

Fund managers and brokers vie to buy up all the stock,

To sell to dim investors fooled by all the bull and cock,

Though once the FSA's involved, shares plummet like a rock,

With the chairman moving on.

Gordon Watson

All things hard and technical,

All bankers great and small,

All MDs and CEOs,

The Lord God made them all.

Each little fund that's opened

With future gain in mind,

He sees it prosper daily

For good of all mankind.

All things . . . (refrain)

He gave us ears to hear them,

And lips that we might tell -

Those economic upturns

When things are going well.

All things . . . (ref)

And when the prices tumble

And markets all collapse,

Give us the sense to sell up

Before the other chaps.

All things . . . (ref)

Margaret Hughes

No 3854 Set by Grace Elegy

Pride and Prejudice is now a Bollywood movie. How would other great classics fare under film-makers from different cultures? Name your director, title and outline the (new, improved) plot.

Max 200 words by 28 October. E-mail: comp@