Competition

Spectator competition winners: mischievous acrostics

20 February 2021

9:00 AM

20 February 2021

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3186 you were invited to supply an acrostic poem praising or dispraising a public figure, in which the word/s spelled out by the first letter of each line directly contradicts what the poem is saying.

In an era of fake news, rampant conspiracy theories and ever-spiralling paranoia, acrostics are having a moment: resignation letters written to Donald Trump, into which the words ‘Resist’ and ‘Impeach’ had been smuggled, subsequently went viral.


I enjoyed Adrian Fry’s double-edged hymn of praise to Adam Curtis (‘Pretentious tripe’). Other messages lurking in what was an excellent entry included ‘Lying toad’, ‘-Tartan ineptitude’ and ‘Certifiable’; I’ll leave you to guess who they are aimed at.

Commendations go to David Shields, Richard Spencer and Alan Millard. The winners take £20 each.

Bold champion of folk who have no say,
Our voice when powerful people think we’re dumb —
May he be always there to start the day
By kicking so-called experts up the bum!
A man who knows so many and so much,
So up-to-date with all the latest news;
Tweets presidents yet has the common touch:
In every sense regarded for his views.
Cool, how he won’t let politicians spout
But cuts them off like any normal bloke:
Unanswered questions then suggest some doubt
Left hanging like a nasty whiff of smoke.
Let Piers show why by knowing you are right
You’re blessed with all you need to spread the light.
W.J. Webster

Putin! The very name is like a bell,
Its soaring tones blessing the skies above,
Signalling to your people all is well,
Sustaining faith, integrity and love.
Of all the Russian leaders heretofore
Not one could equal your profound esprit.
You are the heart and soul, the living core
Of Russia, her lodestar of destiny.
Under your rule the future gleams as bright
As sunrise on the quietly flowing Don,
Suffused with splendid, life-enhancing light.
Such is the journey you have led us on.
Hopeful for peace, though virile as the bear,
On guard for foes, yet humorous and mild,
Loving but stern, you are beyond compare,
Ethically pure, unerring, undefiled.
Basil Ransome-Davies

Duly salute Sir David Attenborough,
Eco-apologist beyond compare.
Seldom zoologists have been so thorough:
Percipient, assiduous; firm, fair.
In simple terms, delivered with good grace,
Sir David cautioned us decades ago:
‘Everything has a purpose, knows its place;
Survival matters, things must live and grow.’
National treasure? Certainly, but more:
An irresistible enthusiast,
Thrilled by the mystic deeps and forest floor,
Unrivalled master of the telecast.
     Resplendently his aura sits about him:
     Earth would be infinitely dull without him.
Mike Morrison

Greta, your steadfast and ferocious gaze
Has mobilised the world and dared us all
As we go through these urgent troubled days,
Somehow to do our bit, however small,
To make a difference. Like you we can
Leave school to those who don’t yet know the truth;
You have revealed a far more thrilling plan.
Celebrities have listened; so has youth.
How definite you are, how very sure
In your determination that you’re right.
Let others count the cost; your way is pure.
Debate is over. It is time to fight.
George Simmers

It’s not as if he’s guilty of a crime;
No sense impeaching him, he’s not to blame.
So things got slightly out of hand that time?
Unfortunate, five dead, but all the same,
Remember, these were patriots at heart,
Refusing to accept a vote so flawed,
Eager to do their patriotic part
Combatting evil, overturning fraud.
Trump says: ‘I made a perfect speech — “Go fight!”
I told them. “Fight like hell! I won big-time!
Of course I should be President by right!”’
Now tell me, how can that be called a crime?
Brian Allgar

Gutted, boned, an’ served wi’ almonds,
Roasted’s how ye like yer Salmond,
Isnae true ma bonny Nicola?
Lassie, ye’r a Salmond-tickler,
Landing him, whin cross-examined,
Even mair het up than previous,
Dripping, flapping, something grievous,
Smoke whit’s left as past his sell-be,
Then serve cold, as well he mibbe;
Undercut th’ union-cleavers,
Route th’ who-said-what-and-when breed,
Geeza haun, til we secede!
Evoke oor Mary and oor Charlie,
Oor guid Caledonian Kali:
Noo carry oan, an’ keep yer heid….
Nick Syrett

The Leader of the Opposition
Has wit, a quiff and erudition;
Inside the House, this politician
Sounds solemn like a true patrician;
Certain of facts, his proud ambition
Has helped to shape his one great mission:
At last to banish to perdition —
Proclaiming loud its demolition —
Intransigent Tory tradition.
Skilled in the art of proposition,
As QCs are by definition,
Calmly he’ll bring to full fruition
His plan to quell the competition
Until its final abolition
Means, as befits a skilled tactician,
People will bow in awed submission.
J.C.H. Mounsey

No. 3189: Heaven scent

You are invited to submit a poem about a favourite smell. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 3 March.

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