In Competition No. 3244, you were invited to submit a poem to mark St George’s Day that rivals in awfulness the one Bono recently penned for St Paddy. As Sam Leith wrote, in a terrifically funny and instructive piece, Bono’s offering was ‘technically incompetent to a degree that constituted an insult to the very craft of verse’. So that was what you were aiming for.
In a large and mischievous entry, there were nods aplenty to the U2 front man, both in content (‘snakes’) and form (limerick). Dishonourable mentions go to Jenny Pearson, R.M. Goddard, Brian Murdoch, Basil Ransome-Davies, Carolyn Beckingham and Roger Rengold. The winners, printed below, pocket £25 each.
Our greatest day, you all have I’m sure heard,
Has got to be April the 23rd:
’Cause it’s St George’s Day, I’m telling you;
It’s Shakespeare’s – did you know this? – birthday too.
Like Boris full was George of chivalry,
Like Boris he wanted us to be free;
And just as Boris recently was sayin’,
We love freedom like people in Ukraine.
I’m sure for certain this is George’s wish:
Ingerland ought to be for the English,
For George was an Englishman born and bred,
Who rescued maidens and killed dragons dead.
I’ve googled him. Now feel a total berk:
Turns out he wasn’t English, but a Turk.
At least people agree he did exist:
If he had not, off would I have been pissed.
Let’s raise a cheer for George the saint
In Spring (for it’s his season)
He protects our land without complaint
And for no obvious reason:
He’s really a Turk, I’m sure you know,
Who joined the Roman army
And then was martyred cruelly although
I bet he took it calmly.
He killed a dragon or so they say
(Unlikely to say the least) –
A legend added long after his day
(There never was such beast.)
Inconveniently for the current hour
He’s not just England’s patron:
He’s Moscow’s too, which leaves me sour,
Can someone please fetch matron?
St George’s Day! Callooh Callay!
Sing! Dance! Express emotion!
Oh we all think he’s English –
Turns out he’s Cappadocian;
And we all think he’s saintly –
It’s a patriotic notion.
He’s a super-scally, pugilistic, sexy Cappadocian.
St George’s Day! Oh frabjous day!
He landed at Sheerness
And there he met a maiden,
A damsel in distress.
He slayed the dragon, got the gal
And then went to confess:
‘I have faintly saintly,
Euphemistic flexible devotion.
I’m a super-scally-pugilistic-sexy-Cappadocian.’
’Twas in an English crimson dawn
Under a chestnut oak
That the Lion of the Brits was born
And thus did he lordly spoke,
I am He (also she) who is noble
Who rules these bluebell lands
And whose vision, which is global
Though from this grand strand
For we shall always come forth
Protectionist of the weak
South and East, West and North
Each day and every week
England! Like the fabulous dog
Let us have our great day
And our mariners, splicing their grog
May cry Hip Hip Hooray.
Oh St George he conquered the dragon
So raise up your tankard or flagon.
Be full of good cheer
And good English beer
And don’t tell me you’re on the wagon.
For the dragon we’ve slain now is Brussels
After long years of turmoil and tussles,
Setting immigrant numbers
And straightening cucumbers
And generally flexing its muscles.
So forget the price hikes at the garage,
The bad news that comes in a barrage,
For England once more
Has a non-porous shore
And St George’s name now is Farage.
St George is the saint for English people
which is why his flag flies from every church steeple
as well as in decent people’s front gardens
where their national pride stiffens and hardens.
He must have been an Englishman because he’s great,
true saint for the state,
a red cross appearing not only his flag
but everything from poster to carrier bag.
An inspiration for the nation
one for celebration and jubilation
on his day, which is April 23rd and when
people can be proud of being English men
(and women too). His killing the dragon
proves him a brave hero, like a stag on
a mountain top, proud and mighty.
A saint for all times, and TRULY knightly.
No. 3247: The road not taken
You are invited to submit the reflections, in verse or prose, of a well-known writer, living or dead, on a career path they might have taken. Email entries of up to 16 lines/150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 27 April.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
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