Competition 16

Competition 16 - All Change

Dead poets are clearly unhappy about a number of environmental changes and their gripes were relayed strongly via a number of heartfelt submissions. Unhappiest of all is undoubtedly Wordsworth whose concerns about soil erosion in the Lake District have clearly been communicated to about two-thirds of you!

Pat D’Amico, Douglas Brown, Katie Mallett and Peter Goulding have grounds for being miffed at not appearing here. I am surely the only editor to have rejected Swift, Wordsworth, Browning, Service and E A (Miniver Cheevy) Robinson all on the same day.

All those who appear below deserve a box of eco-friendly light bulbs as a prize. But, since we all know they are less effective than glow-worms’ backsides, there seems no point in offering more than my thanks/apologies/admiration to all those dead poets who sent in entries


Loneliest of Tree
(after Housman)

Loneliest of trees, the cherry now
Is gamely hanging on somehow
Through drought and heat and smoggy haze
And blister-raising UV rays.

Throughout my five score years and nine
I've seen the woodlands' sharp decline
(Our overpopulated earth
Has largely caused their current dearth),

So now there's scarcely any left --
And since we'll soon be all bereft,
I'm heading out today to see
The final Shropshire cherry tree.

Brendan Beary


The Wind Farm of Shalott
(after Tennyson)

Last month some eco-knights came by
And clothed the wold and met the sky
With whirling monoliths on high
From here to Camelot.

It seems they work at quarter power
And cost a whole lot more per hour.
God rot them in their ivory tower,
The lords of Camelot.

Now all day long within my room
I’ll hear the constant swish and zoom
Of this misguided smug new broom
Imposed by Camelot.

They’ve cut my coat according to
cloth which even fools see through.
My curse be on the lot of you
For ruining Shalott.

Leo Vincent


This be the curse
(after Larkin)

We fucked it up, the ozone layer.
We didn't mean to, but we did.
With CFCs et cet. which spray a
Soap-scented mist on parts best hid.

And now it's full of holes, as though
Gigantic moths had made a feast.
There's scant protection left, and so
The end is nigh for man and beast.

Man's buggered up this earthly ball.
God knows what God now thinks of us.
We've scarcely any time at all
So grit your teeth, don't make a fuss.

D A Prince


Many Coils Make Light Dim
(after Dr. Seuss)

Those spiral light bulbs, lady, gent,
Are good for the environment,
But I don't like them. No, I don't.
And I won't use them. No, I won't.

They're ugly as a warty toad;
I will not travel down that road.
The light they shed is cold and weak;
I will not paddle down that creek.

I like the old round bulbous kind.
They suit my eyes. They soothe my mind.
I go to markets where they're stored;
I quickly buy them up. I hoard.

A pox on those who stipulate
That I must use those things I hate.
I'd rather eat an aardvark boiled
Than use a light bulb that is coiled.

Mae Scanlan



Parting Day, Parking Night
(after Thomas Gray)

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day
And men and women leave behind their toil.
The traffic homeward crawls its weary way
With smells of petrol fumes and burning oil.

Now back they come, the Renaults and the Fords,
Their headlights ghostly in the falling dark;
The Clios, Mazdas, Saabs; the endless hordes
All seeking out a place in which to park.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade;
Half on the pavement, straddled on the verge.
There is no place the motor has not strayed;
Nowhere that can escape its mighty surge.

And now front lawns which once stood fair and green,
Edged by the bold hydrangea’s floral lace
Are in these present times so rarely seen
As tarmaced parking lots assume their place.

Sue Scott


Wordsworth Encounters Hypocrisy
in the Wye Valley

I wandered o’er the hills, aloud
with tourists scrambling through the scree,
when all at once I saw a crowd
of structures clad in PVC
beside the lake, machine-made, bright,
hideous and gleaming in the light...

...but then, when I sat down to dine
and looked at my abundant plate –
strawberries, tomatoes on the vine,
no interval, no season’s wait -
oh, then my heart was light and gay,
for poly tunnels are the way!

Lynn Roberts