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Old 09-22-2010, 07:52 AM
John Whitworth's Avatar
John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
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Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 12,648
Default The Oldie Competition:bonfires and compost heaps

The Oldie Competition
by Tessa Castro

You were invited to write a conversation in verse between the bonfire and the compost heap.The challenge seemed to appeal tou your cthonic and pyrophilic instincts. 'I blaze! I burn! Byronic passions flame' began Jane Weller's boastful fire. No wonder Katie Mallet's compost heap cried: Look at you, you show-off/ With your curl of stinging smoke. GM Southgate's heap was of a similar opinion- Still your arrogance, bright boy/ for where I nurture, you destroy Julie Stoner's heap was humbler, 'Ihave worms: you've the Phoenix'. Like many of your heaps , Basil Ransome Davies's was contemplative: 'Bonfires dwindle and die out, like rivers in the sand / While compost heaps eternally abide.' Commiserations to them and congratulations to the authors below, each of-whom wins £20, with the fireside bonus Taylor's of Harrogate tea and cake set going to the excellent John Whitworth

I coruscate and flash.
My consequence is ash.
I brood in quietude.
I am a multitude.

Here, there, everywhere,
I dance as light as air
I brood. I breathe a breath
Of lifè, and life in death.

I am the great bow-bender
Who lives and dies in splendour.
The more you fret and shout,
The sooner you go out.

My arrows light the sky
They purge and purify
But I remain in rain
And sun, in sun and rain..

John Whitworth

Said the compost heap to the bonfire
'I'm getting the hots for you..
My inside's a mulch of emotion
And I've jilted the barbecue.'

Barked the bonfire to the compost heap
'Youre forever talking muck.
The blokes who've forked you over would fill
A Chelsea flower show truck.'

The compost cooed, 'Last Guy Fawkes,
As the whizz-bangs hurtled around,
You said you were burning for me,
That I suited you down to the ground.'

'My memory's a fading ember,'
Said the bonfire, 'you may be right;
But you'll have to warm to some other old flame,
For I'm going out tonight'
Peter Wyton

'Hello there, heap,' the bonfire said.
'I see you're in a stew.
Your lavish husk-and-peeling spread
Creates a heady brew?

Why, goodness, fire,' the heap replied,
Pulsating modestly.
'How flattering you should confide
You've got the hots for me.'

'It's true. You are so sweet, so svelte,
I'm burning with desire.
Your fine aerobic perfumes melt
The heart of this old fire.'

'Alas, we must be satisfied
With warm, platonic chats.
A closer intimacy might
Incinerate my rats.'
GM Davis

Your heap of rotting vegetation
Malodorous in its stagnation,
Where aphids, wireworms, bugs and slugs -
A coterie of garden thugs—
Make for your decomposing patch
To fornicate and then to hatch.
Bonfires dispose of all such trash
While making bountiful potash!

Your satanic noisome pyre -
That is wrongly called bonfire -
Brings smoke and smuts exceeding black
Stoked by a pyromaniac.
You pollute the earth and sky
Igniting other fires nearby
Necessitating firemen with axes
Thus adding to the council taxes.
Una Mc.Morran

'I love the way,' the bonfire said,
'You quietly decompose.
You-look as if you're all but dead,
Completely comatose.
But underneath that public face -
Or so I have been told -
Though glacial is your natural pace,
Your heart is far from cold.'
'If heat you want,' the compost drawled,
'You'll have it soon enough.
But never think my heart, so-called,
Is made of glowing stuff.
You mock my dull, deliberate ways,
But let there be no doubt
You may have one bright, flashy blaze,
But I will see you out'
Bill Webster
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:14 AM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middle England
Posts: 5,135


You've realised your ambition at last - congratulations, John. I know how much you've wanted (and deserved) this. Congrats to Julie and Bazza too.

Edited in: John, when you scan it, it's a good idea to check the words; they can sometimes alter slightly. Your S2L2 should be 'air'.

Last edited by Jayne Osborn; 09-22-2010 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:17 AM
basil ransome-davies's Avatar
basil ransome-davies basil ransome-davies is online now
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Default great stuff, john

You'll enjoy the tea set, beautifully packed by Betty of Harrogate.

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Old 09-22-2010, 09:19 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 13,958

Aw, compost! I didn't win. But felicitations to John, who I know will cherish the tea set and give it a loving home. Good one!
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:16 AM
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Marion Shore Marion Shore is offline
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Location: Belmont, Massachusetts USA
Posts: 2,976

The Tea Set! You must describe your experience of it in exquisite graphic detail. A cyber tea party as it were.
Many congrats!!!!

Last edited by Marion Shore; 09-22-2010 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:59 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 5,203

I'm sure that tea and cake will taste especially sweet, John. Hearty congrats!
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:17 PM
Jerome Betts Jerome Betts is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Devon England
Posts: 1,580

O frabjous day! Congratulations on your feat of feet, John. When may we expect the victory sonnet, 'On First Looking Into Betty's Tea-Set'?
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:44 AM
Holly Martins Holly Martins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 2,445

Double congrats, John, in that it was such a dull subject which you've bested with a killer-diller. For Eratospherians the mythical tea set has assumed the status of a Nobel Prize and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry rolled into one. Can we have a photo of you using it?
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:16 PM
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FOsen FOsen is offline
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Location: Pasadena, California
Posts: 2,378

Have an Earl Grey for me, John.

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Old 09-25-2010, 01:45 PM
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John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 12,648

I think that Bazza (who has won it) said it wasn't a teapot but a selection of teas. Certainly I shall post a photo of me drinking some. And Bazza. You post youravatar sipping Taylor's teas.
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