Competition

Spectator competition winners: spring triolets

26 March 2022

9:00 AM

26 March 2022

9:00 AM

In Competition No. 3241, you were invited to submit a spring triolet.

Banjo Paterson, the bard of the bush, had this to say about the triolet in 1894:

Of all the sickly forms of verse,
Commend me to the triolet.
It makes bad writers somewhat worse:
Of all the sickly forms of verse…


But this challenge produced a funny, poignant and thoroughly robust entry full of unforced artistry. The winners take £12.

Now is the time to glorify
What will not break the human heart.
As Flora’s ethos lights the sky,
Now is the time to glorify
What’s truthful, suffocate the lie.
All wars and tragedies apart,
Now is the time to glorify
What will not break the human heart.
Basil Ransome-Davies

One needs a heart as hard as stone
to stand up to the hand of fate.
To face the future all alone,
one needs a heart as hard as stone.
He died in March; I softly moan
that his new epithet is ‘late’.
One needs a heart as hard as stone
to stand up to the hand of fate.
Dorothy Pope

The lion and the lamb compete
And no one’s certain what to wear
We’ll either freeze or wilt from heat.
The lion and the lamb compete,
One day a trial, the next a treat,
In spring we’re neither here nor there.
The lion and the lamb compete
And no one’s certain what to wear.
Alan Millard

This Spring, again, the slugs and snails
Are eager for their vernal feast.
I’ve baited traps with beers and ales
This Spring. Again, the slugs and snails
Just lap it up; my method fails
To kill a single drunken beast.
This Spring, again, the slugs and snails
Are eager for their vernal feast.
Brian Allgar

Where are the songs of spring this year,
The songs of love, rebirth and laughter?
We ask each morning, with a tear,
Where are the songs of spring this year?
Across the world burst buds of fear;
We’ll sample peace in the hereafter.
Where are the songs of spring this year,
The songs of love, rebirth and laughter?
Frank McDonald

Spring is surely on the way
When darkness bows before the light.
People seeing, smile and say,
‘Spring is surely on the way.’
Fresh colours flourish day by day
With delicate, pervasive might.
Spring is surely on the way
When darkness bows before the light.
W.J. Webster

Every spring I quite forget
that this is just a ritual.
The warmth performs its show, and yet
every spring I quite forget
that spring is how a trap gets set.
My folly is habitual.
Every spring I quite forget
that this is just a ritual.
Robert Schechter

‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’
Well, frankly, Will, I’d rather you did not.
It isn’t very flattering to say
‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’
Just look outside – it’s miserable and grey,
And unlike Spring, I like to think I’m hot.
‘Shall I compare thee to a Springtime day?’
Well, frankly, Will, I’d rather you did not.
Nicholas Holbrook

The sky would never be as blue
as cobalt days of lockdown spring
and as the breathless evil grew
the sky would never be as blue
the lapwings and the turbines knew
a twenty/twenty foresight thing
the sky would never be as blue
as cobalt days of lockdown spring
Nick MacKinnon

The celandines defy the cold March breeze
With glossy petals glowing in the sun.
Gold sprigs the green beneath still leafless trees.
The celandines defy the cold March breeze,
In sheltered corners tempting early bees.
As if to prove that spring has now begun
The celandines defy the cold March breeze
With glossy petals glowing in the sun.
Jerome Betts

When spring arrives we must give thanks
For trees that burst to flower and leaf.
For crowds of primroses on banks.
When spring arrives we must give thanks
For nature’s kindness as the ranks
Of evil press, its calm relief.
When spring arrives we must give thanks
For trees that burst to flower and leaf.
Katie Mallett

I tried to write a triolet
about my love of spring
and found I had but this to say:
‘I tried to write a triolet
in praise of April, June and May
but ended up just blathering
“I tried to write a triolet
about my love of spring.”’
Roger Slater

No. 3244: worse verse

Bono’s Ukraine-themed poem for St Patrick’s Day has been dubbed ‘the worst poem ever written’. You are invited to submit a poem to mark St George’s Day (not necessarily with a topical theme) that rivals it in awfulness. Email entries (16 lines max.) to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 6 April.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


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