I did not expect that many of the bare-knuckle fighters, street traders and used car dealers among my readers would accept my sonnet-writing challenge. There are a few intellectuals and top professional men and women who occasionally leaven OMF's banalities with their wit and erudition, but I knew that these would be too busy chairing international conferences or coping with their ministerial responsibilities to spend time on such a frivolous project. And, of course, the prelates among them would be carrying a heavy burden of sacerdotal duties over the Christmas period; one can never expect to get much feedback from high-ranking men of the cloth at peak holy times.
However, I am happy to report that very creditable fourteen-liners were submitted by three of my friends and two unknowns:
• Eric: a distinguished American law professor who mistakenly believes that all lawyers are poets manqué
• Outeast: a person who supplies a nickname but no personal details or URL and who I therefore suspect may be wanted for questioning by the police in connection with a series of axe murders
• Gervase: a Scottish lecturer
• Anonymous: an elderly retired gentleman from Warwickshire
• Grumio: This old reprobate is a resident of Soho but spends much time abroad.
The full texts of their sonnets (in the order in which they were received), and a comment on each by a noted critic are given HERE. The standard was very high; every one of these sonnets has some quality to be commended, so I am unable to pick a winner and I am sending the donation to the Save the Children Fund in my own name. Thank you all.