Competitions nos 58A and 58B: results

Another new judge: Gordon Phillips, the diarist and satirical poet of the Manchester Guardian, who wrote under the pen-name Lucio. Presumably this is the in-joke behind his 58A competition, in which he asks us to imagine that a Bright Young Person called Leuconoe (or Lucy) is showing signs of taking seriously to table-rapping, and similar, a development viwed with apprehension by her Boy Friend (sic) Horace, who urges her to stand fast in her older intention of Having A Good Time. His advice in verse, please, in 12-24 lines. And if you haven’t picked up the classical reference yet, ‘The results, though modernised, should obviously bear some relation to Q.Horatius Flaccus in Book 1, Ode XI.’ That’s Horace to you and me.

Here is A.S.Kline’s translation (2003):

BkI:XI Carpe Diem

Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
one debilitating the Tyrrhenian Sea on opposing cliffs.
Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

Phillips is a complimentary judge, particularly about Gertrude Pitt, L.V.Upward, T.E.Casson (in case you thought he’d packed it in), Chauve-Souris, R. Mal, and the ‘dignified’ Seacape. He opts for A.J.Perman (with some strictures about the scansion of the 10th line, which he doesn’t think Horace would have liked) as the winner and W.R.Y as runner-up.

WR Comp 58

WR Comp 58a

It’s easier, says Phillips for 58B, to stand forth as a knowing fellow by exalting the French hotel while damning the English inn. In the hope that some readers have struck it lucky over Easter (it is now May), he asks for five reasons for the superiority of The Bull’s Head over the Tete Boeuf. He specifies 150 words, but the winner is a poem by Lob (a new name), and the runner-up another new name, John Stevenson, who says he’s just had a good Easter. The others praise the tea and the breakfasts, but not the frequency of the veal in France, which puzzles Phillips; and he is surprisingly taken aback by the many paeans to Beer. The Billiard Table and English coffee (that’s a surprise) also get the thumbs up.

WR Comp 58b

WR Comp 58c


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