Competition 25 : Goods Ancient or Modern

You were asked to pose as well known poets writing adverts for products past or present. Those narrowly edged out were Ogden Nash's favourite doughnuts (Tracy Davidson) and Robert Louis Stevenson's fastest-ever broadband (Sue Scott).

Here, in no particular order of preference, are those pieces of copy which caught the eye of our own discerning consumer:--



Scott took some to southern ice, James Bond thought it very nice,
HM has a jar to hand, Alice, too, in Wonderland.
What links captain, spy, queen, maid?
Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade!

Academia-on-Thames! High and Broad and Gothic gems!
Bicycles and dons and spires! Isis! Cherwell! College choirs!
What’s the stuff they serenade?
Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade!

Bowra, Tolkien, brainy types, claimed it cleared the mental pipes
And the Dyson-Perrins lot swore that spoonfuls kept them hot.
What helps eggheads make the grade?
Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade!

Pearl and Thelma lose control when that coarse-cut fills a bowl;
Old Seville’s acerbic bite has us going half the night!
What is passion’s potent aid?
Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade!

Jerome Betts as Betjeman

Fain would I hymn my Julia’s coiling Hair…
some days ’tis walnut – then again ’tis fair;
sometimes ’tis raven, or (my Heart) it’s Titian –
Lord! then I ponder, this Rainbow Hair’s a mission…
perchance the Barber attends her rising hour
with strong Libations, as dew revives the Flower? –
perchance the cup with which she breaks her Fast
imbrues her Barnet with this changing cast?

And then one Morn my faery Love I view
trip to the Chymist: I watch what she would do.
Lo! in her Baskit I glimpse the tell-tale sign –
among her Gewgaws the L’Oreal doth shine!
Her naughty Eye locks mine, and then with mirth it
brims, and she whispers, ‘Lud, Sir! I’m worth it!’

Lynn Roberts as a Herrick voyce-over

“You are rich, Father William”, I said to Bill Gates;
“Why on earth do you still try to sell
The bug-ridden software that everyone hates,
Known as Windows, the system from hell”?

“In my youth”, he replied, “I was really a nerd,
Unappealing, unworldly, unclubbish.
But then I invented both Windows and Word
And finagled a fortune from rubbish.

Though both of us know that it’s absolute crap,
Since it’s virtual, no one can smell it.
And that’s why I pay you so well, my dear chap,
For the adverts that help us to sell it.”

I returned to my office and started to write
In the hope that I’d find something snappy:
“Buy Windows tomorrow, and let in the light!”
(Note to self: must avoid the word “crappy”.)

Brian Allgar as Lewis Carroll

In nineteen eight did Peek and Frean
a stately custard cream decree –
a biscuit fit for any queen
or ne’er-do-well or in between
to dunk into their tea.
And so was buttercream encased
‘twixt two thick slabs of wondrous taste
and artists chiselled languid lines
in great botanical designs.
And when this fern-daubed pulchritude was sent
to shops from Sauchiehall Street to the Strand,
the people rose and cried without dissent
that ‘twas the finest biscuit in the land.

Peter Goulding as Coleridge

Yon Twining’s Tea, the finest in the land,
Shall I compare it to another brand?
No reason to, as Twining’s art the acme;
All tea aficionados fain would back me.
The Twining name, since Seventeen Oh Six,
Has graced the Strand.  The British public [picks
This lofty tea above all others.  Yea,
The greater world concurs:  ‘tis distingué.
Thou wilt be fairly dancing on the ceiling
When thou hast sampled this divine darjeeling.
And thou must venture not to tarry too long
Upon a steaming cup of awesome oolong.
Shouldst thou prefer Earl Grey, or black, or green,
Thou’lt find them also laudable, I ween.
Thy world wilt be composed of silver linings
When thou commits to drinking teas of Twining’s!

Mae Scanlan as Shakespeare

Liven up a dinner dreary with a dash of something cheery,
If your chops are bland and weary – make the flavour soar!
Squeeze that bottle, get it splashing with a flash of something dashing;
Bold panache to put pizazz in – pizazz in plates that bore.
HP Sauce, the course of action – pizazz for plates that bore;
Only this and nothing more!

Dip your sausage, dab your bacon, smack your lips while you are basting
Grub so good your buds are tasting forkfuls by the score!
Daub those drumsticks as they’re roasting, smother muffins after toasting;
Pour at parties that you’re hosting, for spreads your guests adore.
HP Sauce, the course of action, for spreads your guests adore;
HP Sauce and nothing more!

Susan Jarvis as Poe

Glory be to God for H J Heinz --
For all their beanly benison to me, a man
Who cares not for the culinary art:
For all their expertise which so combines
To guarantee perfection from each can
Without a shred of effort on my part.

For all their products through from one to fifty-seven
Whose cooking needs but one small non-stick pan
To satisfy this lazy non-chef's heart
And father forth a plain man's gastro heaven --
Praise Heinz's part.

Leo Vincent as G M Hopkins