When writing the other day about a Prophylactic Poetry Competition to celebrate the opening of National Contraceptive Awareness Week, I was quite wrong to suggest that it would not attract many entries: in fact, there were more than fifty.
I have to say, though, that the standard of those selected as winners and runners-up was not very high; most of them had uncertain metre and defective rhymes. I mean, "silly" with "willy" is OK if a bit obvious, but "johnny" with "funny" should have been grounds for instant disqualification.
Anyway, none of those I saw were in the same class as the one I submitted on behalf of one of my correspondents whom I know only as Outeast; he couldn't enter it himself because he lives outside the UK* and couldn't afford the stamp, so he sent it to me in a comment on this post. Pity he didn't win, because I had promised him that the prize would have gone to the Save the Children Fund.
The competition was clearly a success, but I am less certain about the NCA week which has just begun. It may well be that preparations have been hindered by death threats from the Vatican's hit squads, and that at this very moment heavy mobs from Opus Dei are tearing down the displays.
They do these things better in the United States. For instance, over there during National Gall Bladder Week every Main Street has its parade (with the Cholecyst Queen), its banners, and stalls manned by top brass from the Gall Bladder Society of America.
Let the final poetic word on contraception go to Tom Lehrer, who ended his version of the Boy Scouts Marching Song with:
....If you're looking for adventure of a new and different kind,
And you chance to meet a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined,
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared....Be Prepared!
* I have no idea where; indeed, I know very little about him. Or her? I have an idea that she may actually be a young Turkish widow whom I remember meeting once some years ago under curious circumstances in the Levant. I do know that he/she is a poet of note: a sonnet of his/hers is included among THESE.