Competition 2: Results

You were invited to write about School Dinners OR Television Weather Presenters in the style of a well-known poet. 

Years of gut-churning revulsion and the memory of Michael Fish’s non-hurricane meant that charity towards such soft targets was in short supply from most of you.   The Editor’s pick of the Menus and Forecasts follows below.   As a consolation for being excellent runners-up a helping of custard with a minimum of lumps goes to Jo Field, while a prospect of only light to moderate wind is offered to Mae Scanlan and Andy Jackson.



I celebrate school dinners.

And what I ate others ate.

For every plate eaten by me was as good as eaten by them.

I masticate and suck in my mouth.

I suck and masticate at my ease .. Observing fish and chips.



 Refectories and dining rooms are full of Bisto kids;

The tables are crowded with mushy pease.

I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it.

The perfumes arouse my taste buds but I shall not give in.

The atmosphere is loaded with spices; my nostrils quiver,

My mouth responds for ever, ... I love it.

I will leave the refectory enhanced, wearing only my shift.

I am mad for more food. It is mine.





Prayer Before School Dinner


I am not yet fed;  O hear me.

Let not the food police, diet freaks, killjoys or hectoring health cranks

     come anywhere near me.


I am not yet fed;  provide me

with twizzlers to twizzle me, nuggets and burgers to nugget and

     burger me, sausage and chips and big second helpings

           of E-numbers, sugar and poly-unsaturates

                 bound to account for me.


I am not yet fed;  preserve me

from all healthy options and food with no fat in it,

     from fruit juice and salad and yoghurt and tofu,

          from mean, thin-crust pizza and fish that’s been steamed,

               and from all types of vegetables.


I am not yet fed;  help me

     to bunk off from dinner and find my way home

          via McDonald’s and Burger King, sweetshops and fizzy drinks,

               then to miss Games and all forms of exercise

                    each day this week.


And I will not care so long as meals fill me.

Although it will kill me.


Leo Vincent-Macneice


Shall I compare thee to a proper cook?
Thou art more surly and more obdurate.
By such rough winds our children's guts are shook
That summer hols have all too short a date.
Sometime too hot thy curried mince doth taste,
And globs of gristle often blight thy stew.
Thy grease-slick gravy looks like toxic waste,
And rumour says thy custard's made from glue.
But thy eternal lunchtime shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that scowl thou wearest,
Nor shall inspectors claim thou mak'st the grade,
When none will eat the food that thou preparest.
So long as school's a place where lunch is bought,
So long liv'st thou, and that gives food for thought.

Helen Whittaker-Shakespeare


The more it blows (tiddley-pom)

The more it goes (tiddley-pom)

The more it goes (tiddley-pom)

On blowing.


And no-one knows (totally wrong)

How long my nose (totally wrong)

How long my nose (totally wrong)

Is growing.


Bob Newman-Milne



Shall I compare this to a summer’s day? -

I could, despite the rain and hail and snow.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May

but summer’s nearly here, I’ll have you know.

In any case, who wants a sun that shines

too hot? - before you know, your looks are gone,

and every fair from fair sometime declines

unless you slap the factor fifty on.

So be content with what my chart foretells -

The weather, though not hot, is looking fine,

a warmish front is bringing sunny spells.

You’ll soon be on the patio, sipping wine.

A storm is on its way you say? Well, pish!

You’re wrong, or my name isn’t Michael Fish.


Frances Thompson-Shakespeare

Presentatrices de Beaux Temps

 About six o'clock they are sometimes wrong,

The Foxy Forecasters: how well they understand

That half the attraction of watching the moving map,

With spreading pools and stair-rod rain,

Is When's her baby due ? Does that jacket fit ?

Her bum's a bit bigger when she turns to the left;


How, when the organisers are eagerly, earnestly waiting

To know whether the match will be rained off on Saturday,

There always must be a number

Of gardeners who deserve a night off from the watering-can.

They never forget

That even Michael Fish got it memorably wrong on one occasion

But no-one ever got sidetracked by his bum.


At ten-thirty, for instance, nobody ever turns away

As nameless lovelies belt through their stuff

And leave us none the wiser, smiling calmly on.


Rosemary Nice-Auden