Competition 7

COMPETITION 7: Thank you for the lovely . . .

You were asked to send a copy of the “Thank you” letter received from the poet to whom you had sent a high-tech Christmas present.

 You surpassed yourselves. Mobile phones and  SatNavs predominated.  For the sake of variety only one of each appears below and I offer commiserations to several unlucky contenders.  But I could not resist the appeal and ingenuity of a leaf blower, a paper shredder, a battery-powered pencil eraser (seen and tested by me, I swear) and the traditionally perplexing Christmas gift whose real purpose becomes more ingeniously unlikely with every emptied bottle of Christmas spirit. A seasonal “Yo! Ho! Ho!” to all whose gifts appear in the stocking below  and, no doubt, a “Bah! Humbug!” to the Judge from those whose equally spectacular gifts don’t.

 Mr Shakespeare’s thanks for a Satellite Navigation System

My thanks to you for this most magic choice.
You say that knowledge, docile in my hand,
Will speak, will guide me with a human voice
To smooth my journey through this foreign land?

Must I attend to her, the Ariel
Confined within this box by Prospero?
Her honeyed phrases softly fall to tell
Me, the tired traveller, of the miles to go.

Although my feet comply, my heart rebels
For in my mind no woman holds such sway;
I should be seeking out her velvet dells
And sweetly talking her to walk my way,

Until, impatient of all public spaces,
She navigates me to her private places.

Sue Millard

The Moan of the Ancient Rimester

Dear ‘Fan’ [it was a damsel fair
who sent to STC],
by all I own, this ‘mobile phone’ –
now wherefore giv’st thou me?

‘Motion’ and ‘sound’, its mongrel name? –
and yet it has no motion;
it’s idle as an empty mind
with neither nous nor notion.

But oh! its sound – its sound is shrill;
the shrieking of a scold,
with lights which blink at me, and wink;
it thicks my blood with cold.

I try to write, but then, the fright! –
this screaming, eldritch warlock!
Please take it back, before I crack,
O fiendish Fan from Porlock!

Lynn Roberts
Just Leaf Me Alone

Earth has not anything to show more fair
Than my Lake Country. Nature everywhere,
With blossoms, trees, and heavenly serenity.
That's why I shan't be using the obscenity
You've given me. You see, there's nothing lower
Than Satan's handiwork, the...aaack!...leaf blower.
For starters, it resembles a bazooka;
The sight of it in action's apt to spook a
Dog, a cat, or blithering old dotard,
And God forbid I'd jolt a peaceful goatherd.
The thing is noisy. I don't care for noise,
Unless it's that which God's Own Hand employs.
The blower hasn't one redeeming feature;
Let nature, not mechanics, be your teacher.
I know the trees', the leaves', the bee's, the birds' worth.
With best regards, sans blower, William Wordsworth.

Mae Scanlan
Longfellow and the Paper Shredder

Henry Wadsworth he take umbrage
At your gift of paper shredder,
At unsubtle implication
That his work is long and boring.
So he pass your gift to maiden,
Brand new bride on Reservation.
Minnehaha she now use it
Slicing veg for Hiawatha.
“Julienne” less hard on molars,
More Designer, much more Cheffy
Than great chunks of uncooked veggies.
She now use it, too, for pasta --
Turn lasagne to spaghetti,
Make her tepee trattoria.
Minnehaha she say thank you.
Henry Wadsworth (still offended.)

 Leo Vincent

Thanks a Lot

Dear Rosemary,
I've opened your device. It's nice, precise for taking out odd bits of sudoku or crossword clue.
Is pink my ideal colour, do you think ?
I never saw a motorised eraser heretofore. I find it rubs out lines and rotten rhymes in record time.
It's a cool tool. I'll use it regley.
All the very best,
John Hegley

Rosemary Nice
Wordsworth says thank you for the video camera

She died among the untrodden ways
beside the springs of Dove
in those pre-photographic days
before one filmed one’s love.

I thank you for your gift, but fear
it’s come some years too late,
for Lucy’s corpse doth now appear
long past its film-by date.

Since taking photos of the dead
is naught but necrophilia
I’ll use your camera, instead,
for other memorabilia,

Imran T Parrek

Frosty Reception

"Some thing there is that doesn't love a wall,
And that thing's this -- its flimsy mounting bracket
Fails routinely; thrice I've seen it fall,
And wake up half the village with its racket.

"For what it is, though, it can simply lean --
What is it, anyway? Some kind of clock?
Some combination adze and tambourine?
(Laid flat, it makes a decent butcher's block.)

"Once I decode the cryptic User's Guide,
I'm sure I'll see its form befits its job.
Unwrapping this, I must admit, I cried;
My thanks can't be expressed. Sincerely, Bob."

 There -- niceties complete, I'll cast around
For methods to dispatch these garish goods;
Perhaps I'll dump it, never to be found,
Some snowy evening, stopping by the woods. . .

Brendan Beary


Gone but not forgotten. Pam Ayres wrote of wishing that she had looked after her teeth. You are now invited to lament your own lack of care for a once-prized possession.