Competition No 4138

Set by Leonora Casement

We asked for synthetic poems with at least one line from:
Pam Ayres, Shakespeare, Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Alfred Austin and William McGonagall.

This week's winners

Apologies for the confused instructions as to line length. We considered all. £25 to the winners, with the Tesco vouchers going, in addition, to Alanna Blake.

They called me the hyacinth girl,
I have been but too faithful to thee;
Thank heavens we don't have to kiss
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
But must I confess how I liked him,
Will praise him whatever befall?
My conscience gets horribly pricked
When icicles hang by the wall.
I listened with heart fit to break,
Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
As pure as the dewdrops of night
And out of the swing of the sea,
To weigh how much I suffered in your crime,
To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.
Alanna Blake

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee:
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Above us, the intimate roof of the car
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand
On the bonnie braes o' the silvery Tay
Thou mastering me,
Upholstered in sultry black leather . . .
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
It was a dream I had last week.
Leave me a little while alone,
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Desperate as hell. Ask me something difficult.
Finding a hornet's pulse. Not loving you.
David Silverman

Thou still unravished bride,
“Bear," you said, "my love in mind,"
Out in the frozen countryside,
A little more than kin and less than kind.
Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, timrous beastie, look,
Look up at the skies.
Canst thou draw out Leviathan with an hook?
A night of memories and sighs.
'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And I would that my tongue could utter,
“Set your affection on things above.
I will nor cease from mental fight."
I do like a little bit of butter.
For God's sake hold your tongue and let me love.
Helen Hogan

I had a dream of England, wild and weird,
Enough to make one's blood run cold,
So many vagabonds, so many beggars bold,
So all day long the noise of battle rolled,
The voice of the dead was a living voice to me,
Not to the sensual ear, but more endear'd
Among the mountains by the winter sea,
The gray sea and the long black land
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight.
All was completely barren, but for little stumps of wood.
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee,
Yet the order of the acts is planned;
Who knows but the world may end tonight,
It is not and it cannot come to good!
Shirley Curran

I will work like a dog, like a horse, like a slave,
But I mustn't be downhearted
When idea from fact is departed
From cradle run to grave,
Warm-laid grave of a womb-life grey,
Because to weep for the dead, it is a sin.
And how should I begin?
Oh ye, who have your eye-balls vexed and tired -
Look you, I'll go pray -
To work my mind, when body's work's expired;
And work's our dearest friend
(Turning the toils of labour into sport,
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought,
Waiting for the end, boys, waiting for the end).
Bill Greenwell

The next challenge

No 4141 Set by Gavin Ross

Publishers have revised some of the language of Enid Blyton to make it more comprehensible to today's readers. Can we have the same done to famous literary passages of your choice?

Max 125 words by 26 August

This article first appeared in the 16 August 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The war against science