Magazine article The Spectator

Competition: Changing Fashions

Magazine article The Spectator

Competition: Changing Fashions

Article excerpt

In Competition No. 2975 you were invited to supply your own nine-line twist on Robert Herrick's 'Upon Julia's clothes':

Whenas in silks my Julia goes

Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows

That liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes and see

That brave vibration each way free,

O how that glittering taketh me!

In a large and somewhat raucous entry, Herrick's 17th-century restraint was cast aside in favour of full-on 21st-century vulgarity. Honourable mentions go to Basil Ransome-Davies, John Whitworth and Josh Ekroy. The winners, printed below, take £15 each.

Whenas in shorts my Julia plays

A set or two on summer days

I think of Herrick's, who wore stays.

If in a skirt, it's not that long

And struggles to conceal the thong

Unknown in Robert's verse or song.

White hairless legs, below the knees?

With us, much more is viewed with ease

Than when he wrote Hesperides .

Jerome Betts

Whenas in jorts my Julia goes,

I note she's sporting camel toes.

Whynot, I offer, change your clothes?

Then-at I cast my eyes and see

How-of she with her voice makes free,

Abjuring me as 'one of those',

Whilst popping me upon the nose.

Therefor, to bleach I've now consigned

The shirt that she incarnadined.

Frank Osen

Whenas in time my Julia grows

less lustrous than a dew-pearled rose

I'll be the only one who knows.

For, while her unguents, paint and paste

applied with artistry and taste

may long conceal old age's haste

I'll do what timeless love entails

by doctoring her bathroom scales

to lie each day 'til Earth's light fails.

Martin Parker

Whenas in style my Julia dines

She says 'My perfect valentine's

The one who buys me fancy wines,

The kind that make a girl go ape

And pray to God she won't escape

The liquefaction of the grape.'

And so, to have a bon, bon soir

And end up in my love's boudoir,

I buy her pricey pinot noir.

Robert Schechter

Whenas in dreams my Julia takes

My hand, my heart no longer breaks,

And though I'm sleeping there awakes

In me a sense that so-called dreams

Are more than merely that which seems

But that which is. …

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