Divine Impossibilities: The Winners

The 6th Antigone Competition

For our latest competition we asked our readers to revisit three iconic deities in the Pantheon – Dionysus/Bacchus, Ares/Mars, and Aphrodite/Venus – and to let their imagination run wild about the divine impossibility of this motley trio giving up their respective addictions – drink, war, and sex. Unlike previous contests, we thought it would be interesting to let contestants choose any medium they liked. As it happens, writing and drawing were much the favourite options, although we appreciated both the experimental bottle-blowing soundfile and the cartwheel-sized carrot cake that came our merry way.

Faced with a few score entries of admirable quality, the judges felt the pressure intensely. In order to aid both silent contemplation and private communication about the merits of our cornucopia of entries, the team bedded down for 127 hours in Georgia. While the atmosphere was initially tense (Veryovkina Cave looks very different from its bright-and-breezy Airbnb listing), it was nothing that could not be fixed by a communal abseil-cum-spelunk to a depth of 2,212 metres below sea level. (Casualties were refreshingly few and, in the grand scheme of things, non-fatal – to the Antigone project, that is.)

All entries were scientifically anonymised, and all judges at all times wore those things horses have on the sides of their heads, a policy that seemed a good idea to begin with, but when we got to day three or thereabouts they only made our experience all the more surreal (owing to a diplomatic oversight, no food or drink had been packed, and our sponsorship deal with Ginsters was pulled at the last minute because of a targeted, dual-purpose social-media campaign against open-access Classics websites and Cornish pasties). Although debate was unflinching and unstinting (and, we admit ruefully, our more heated arguments registered as unexplained seismic activity to those 2km above), in the end we emerged from the cave wide-eyed and blearily-blinking – but with two names to hand.

So here we are then: we give the winners in our two age categories first, and then have the pleasure of publishing some truly excellent runners-up…

In the Over-18 category we had a terribly difficult time of it, since there were many very clever entries flying in from all quarters. But after long and arduous debate we felt that the palm should fall (along with £250) to this most remarkable slice of pastoral, which we now learn to have been written by Peter Hulse of Sheffield, England:

The Long-forgotten Eleventh Eclogue of Petrus Sylvestris

Newly-rediscovered, edited

and done into English

 by Anon.

Forte Mycon pastor fessus iam sederat umbra . . .

By chance Mycon the shepherd had settled himself in the shade. Whom did he spy but his friend Philoinos the Satyr who worked in the Vineyard of Dionysus, his master.

Mycon: (catching sight of the downcast visage of his friend) why💔sad? What ails thee? Do thy grapes not prosper on the vine? Is thy Bacchic master not happy?

Philoinos: O alas and alack! My vines are fruitful but my master Dionysus is a melancholy god… (enter a chorus of nymphs and fawns who begin to sing dolefully accompanied by Orpheus on his Stratocaster lyre, ressembling that well-known Rhapsode E r . c . C . . pt . n). [“This last section of Π almost impossible to decipher” Ed. Pr.)]

Chorus (in an unknown rustic metre):

Last night the God drank but will not drink again,

His limbs are all shakey, his head is all pain,

He’s forsaken the grape, things won’t be the same.

That’s why we all sadly lament in this way…

Orpheus: Purple Rain . . . Purple Rain

[“Don’t know how that last bit got in. Apologies to all Radio Three listeners,” Ed. Pr[ince]ps.]

(Enter Dionysus at a lively pace).

Dionysus (in a brisk tone, clearly hasn’t touched a drop for maybe hours): Hail Mycon and you Philoinos, my Satyr! Let’s have less of the lying under the canopy of a spreading beech, wooing Muses on scrannel pipes. It never did that idle devil Tityrus any good. Mycon back to thy sheep and Philoinos back to my Vineyard!

Mycon: Eeek! [A Doric expression found rarely in pastoral poetry] I’m off !

Philoinos: Master! What would’st thou have me do? (He’s suddenly gone rather formal).

Dionysus: Uproot all my vines! Tread all my grapes! (but in a bad way). I’m sober now and will remain so (Melodramatic pause, turning to the Chorus who look even more miserable)…  likewise you lot!

Chorus (plangently):

Weep all ye Muses, weep all ye swains!

All joy has vanished, the god seems deranged!

Dionysus: Attend and pay heed! I have a plan…

I was on my way to the Thalysia the other day and I happened to run into Lycidas. I knew it was Lycidas because on his shoulders he wore the tawny skin of a thick-haired goat… and round his breast an aged tunic with a broad belt; in his right hand he grasped a crooked club of wild olive. He gave me a wink and, with a twinkling eye and with laughter about his lip, said: “Where are you off to, Dionysus my friend (“getting a bit matey there – remember I’m a god,” I muttered sotto voce) in the noontide, when even the lizard sleeps on the wall and the tomb-crested larks fare not abroad? What you need is a nice cup of tea! Let’s have a proper brew!”

We did indeed stop a while Lycidas told me the tale of this strange new drink from a land far away which cheers but does not inebriate!

And so, rip up the vines! I want tea plants! I’m taking the pledge!

(Suddenly there is peal of thunder and a flash of lightning and the sylvan glade changes into something far more serious. An august personage who looks alarmingly like the King of gods and men descends on a cloud).

Zeus: Cease thy foolishness, O Dionysus! Without wine the happiness of the world will be diminished and mankind will be sadder. Moderation in all things!

(On those sensible words the pastoral vision fades and reality returns… but thanks to Zeus – and Dionysus – we still have wine… and sometimes tea! Put the kettle on!)

In the 18-and-under category we had a great array of brilliant entries. But, despite there being much elegance and wit among the written entries, we felt ourselves most impressed by one of the artistic pieces. So, our prize of £150 falls to Nicolas Toke-Nichols from Bath, England, for his work ‘Sober Dionysus” by’:

On then to our runners-up. In the over-18 category we had a brilliantly wry piece from Judith Stove, based in Sydney, Australia:

Dithyramb: A Dry Spell

Scene I: a shady hillside, midday. Daphnis and Tityrus seated, eating a rustic meal (bread, figs, goat’s cheese).


D. So let me guess, you didn’t get an invite either.

T. Nah.

D. Well, nor did that gal Eris, and boy, was she off it. They were just showing all the gifts – a sword, some jewellery, those crazy horses (someone got ‘em out again real quick), a flute. Small talk, plates of nibblies –

T. So who did you hear this from again?

D. Mate, I protect my sources. Anyway, Eris rocks up yelling, it’s just chaos, then she chucks this golden apple – nearly hit Aphrodite in the head –


D. And it says: ‘For the fairest.’

T. As in ‘best and fairest’ like we give the junior wrestling champ at the spring festival?

D. Nah, like old school, ‘most beautiful.’

T. Uh, OK. So, who was going to get that?

D. Well, that’s the problem. Because of course Aph thought it was for her, but you know Hera and Athena weren’t going to hold back. Anyway, it was awkward, so Zeus called for nectar, to, you know, lighten the mood.

T. Fair.

D. And that’s when things really descended. Turns out Dionysus is on a hundred-year challenge.

T. What?

D. A hundred years, no wine, vegan-only food, in between fasting and high-intensity workouts. He’s ripped, I’ll give him that. So we all took one sip, and Ares says ‘Hey! This isn’t Nectar Zero, is it?’

T. I thought you said you weren’t invited?

D. Hah, I mean that’s what my source told me.

T. Uh, right. So essentially apricot juice?

D. Yep, all carb and no buzz.

T. That sucks.

D. Right? Zeus wasn’t happy. Thetis was nearly in tears because this was her special day, you know? Hermes was skimming around telling jokes. But Dio himself didn’t seem to notice anything was wrong, he was asking about the single-origin olives and saying even honey doesn’t fit with the meal plan. I mean, seriously?

Enter Chloe, hurrying up the hill, agitated.

C. Hey! Have you been to our vineyard? All the new grapes that have just budded, they’re all shrivelled! It happened overnight, and it’s too early for frost. Something’s got to them. Dad’s going to go insane. Come and look!


Scene II: a vineyard; Daphnis, Tityrus and Chloe stand among shrivelled vines. Chloe sinks to her knees in tears.

C. Lord Dionysus, please bring our vines back to life. We always honour you and sacrifice to you. My father will visit your shrine today.

Tityrus takes Chloe’s hand and they kneel, eyes closed. Exit Daphnis, silently. Chloe and Tityrus rise, examining the dry vines.

T. Hey, I wonder if it’s got something to do with that challenge?

C. What challenge?

T. Daphnis just told me, Dionysus is on some wacky challenge, no alcohol!

C. Oh, that’s silly, how would Daph know?

T. Yeah, but… Where’s he got to? Daphnis!

Enter Chloe’s father, Gorgias, wringing hands.

G. We are ruined! My brother has sent a slave to say that his vines have died too. With no wine for the season, we’ll have no income. Oh, lord Dionysus, please help us!

Enter a group of maenads, leading Daphnis/Dionysus. As they pass, the grapes miraculously swell and darken to mature appearance. Chloe jumps for joy, Tityrus embraces Gorgias.

D (joyously): It’s the arc of divine time, you know? A hundred years, five minutes – all the same to me! And am I ripped, or what!

The maenads serve wine, and all exeunt, dancing and praising Dionysus.

Similarly ingenious was this one-act play Philautia (“self-love”) about Ares on the psychotherapist’s couch, by Joonas Mikael Vättö of Helsinki, Finland:


or, joie de vivre

a (short) play in one act

Protagonists:   Ares, great god of war, and his psychotherapist

Act 1


Psych.:  Yes, please, have a seat. So, tell me, Ares, how have you been doing this past week?

Ares:  Good, good, very good. I’ve been terrific. Been working a lot on what we talked about, you know? Yeah, and just keeping busy, taking it a day at a time. Those breathing exercises are really good.

Psych.:  Very good. I would like to continue where we left off last week, if that is fine by you? So, you were talking about the time when you were imprisoned for – thirteen? – months. How was that experience for you?

Ares:  Well, you know, that’s just life, isn’t it? Doesn’t really help too much to cry about it, right? Life goes on. But, sure, wasn’t easy being chained in place for thirteen months, I’ll tell you that! – thought I was done for. They didn’t feed me, could you believe it? It’s true! Lost more than forty pounds. Haven’t got any manners, those Giants. My wrists hurt quite a bit the years after that. Yeah, could barely throw my spear with that sprain – can you imagine? The big, scary god of war, or whatever, not using his spear? –; ended up overusing my elbow – still see my physiologist for that. I’ll tell you, that wrist didn’t do me any good when we went to Τροία! Made a big fool of myself there, didn’t I? Thank Zeus I have good health insurance.

Psych.:  You’ve had it rough, haven’t you?

Ares:  Oh, don’t get me started! Worst of it is: Aphrodite – I’ve told you about her, haven’t I? Yeah, the really pretty one –, she’s not let me, you know, since she saw me fumble around with that spear. Yeah, said something about needing a “real god”; like, what’s that supposed to mean? I was “real” enough for her all those other times! Wasn’t I? Anyways, I hear these days she’s really just getting it on with her foster son. Met him once. Pretty boy, I’ll admit it, but a “real god”? If you ask me, I think she’s just lost her mind. Yeah it was rough seeing them together. But, looking into his eyes, he was just a boy; how could he possibly resist her? Couldn’t bring myself to resent him.

Psych.:  It seems you were able to find peace with – Adonis was his name? – your romantic rival? That’s very good, Ares! This is exactly what we talked about: finding your inner peace.

Ares:  Yeah, it really is a relief! And, to top it off, I only briefly got the urge to slice his head off! No torture, no slaughter of his family – you know, this time, I did not even sound the horn! In the end, all turned out well for me, you know? The two seem miserable. Also: I hear those Giants got in a really nasty fight and ended up killing each other. Dodged a bullet there, didn’t I? By Zeus, it feels great getting this off my chest!

Psych.:  Very good, Ares! Your progress is impressive. I see we’re almost out of time, but you wrote in your diptych that there was something you wanted to show me?

Ares:  Yes! I tried your suggestion of expressing myself creatively. Yeah, art. You know, to process my feelings, and all that. Well, I brought some pieces with me! Let me just get them out. Here, I call this one “eternal sunshine and happiness over the hills of Τροία”, and – oh, I’m really proud of this one – “romance under the Olympian stars. Please, take it! Can you feel the texture? Why, yes, it is real macaroni!

A splendidly colourful and playful piece on Dionysus was penned by Mark Eaglesfield of Auckland, New Zealand:

The countryside lay still, like an ineradicable god.
Robert Walser

The invasion was not going well. Fierce resistance had stalled the army in the borderlands.
Where was the commander? For days on end, Dionysus had been carousing in camp, while hismaenads and satyrs struggled to push through the Hindu Kush into India.
It was morning. There was no plan. Sprawled atop his collapsed tent, humming a sea shanty, Dionysus expected Nike to simply come to him. But the only winged victory in the air was a legion of fruit flies.
A nearby satyr, easing his hoof out of a wineskin, spoke up. ‘Do you know what’s wrong?’
‘What do you mean?’ asked Dionysus. ‘All is well.’
‘We’re at war. We’re drunk.’
‘Lucky us!’
‘You’re like the hare outraced by the tortoise,’ responded the satyr, in between licks of his wine-drenched hoof. ‘Partying too early.’
‘You’re being disrespectful.’ Gesturing grandly in his own direction, Dionysus reminded the satyr, ‘I’m divine.’
‘You really are like the hare.’ Lick. ‘Overconfident. Your talents don’t include’ – lick – ‘prioritizing.’
‘I’m not like that hare. I’m a god!’ At last, Dionysus was sitting up. ‘And gods are always
victorious, you clack-clacking goatish freak!’
‘Are you hopping mad, or drunk on hops?’
Too drunk to decipher wordplay, Dionysus stood up. ‘Watch me hop.’
With divine grace, he leapt into the air. With drunken clumsiness, he botched his landing and fell back onto the tent. From underneath came a maenad’s muffled cry.
‘So you can hop,’ jeered the satyr, ‘once. Glorious conqueror my hoof!’ He gave his hoof one more lick, as if for emphasis.
The god stared up toward the sky, and the flies. Nike was not there.

*  *  *

That afternoon, Dionysus summoned his maenads and satyrs. ‘Today is a new day,’ he
announced. ‘A turning point.’
‘Mead instead of wine?’ suggested a maenad.
‘No. No mead. No wine. No alcohol ever again!’ Dionysus took a gulp of wine from his cup, then tossed the rest. ‘That was my last drink.’
Stunned, the army couldn’t meet his gaze.
‘Forward, conquerors!’
‘Can we have a last drink, too?’ someone asked.
‘No. I’m the important one, so I do the dramatic gestures on your behalf. War epics are always like that. Now, drop the booze and move! Fight your way out of these hills!’

*  *  *

The army poured into battle, with mixed results. The satyrs and maenads kicked and punched more accurately than before, but less forcefully. No one remembered why they had wanted to invade India. ‘Violence isn’t fun anymore,’ they complained.
On sober consideration, it seemed unwise, too. They were fighting with hands and hooves against swords and spears. Their dead piled up. Morale followed the setting sun.
Dionysus hoped to carry on through the night, as he had often done in other situations, but his unhappy warriors insisted on burying the dead. The god went off to sulk in his tent.
‘Weaklings,’ he spat.
Seven hours of sobriety proved no match for a mass burial of close friends. Anguish stirred the shaken mourners into frenzied revolt. Half-full wineskins were rediscovered and drained. The old ecstasy roared back.
Declaring holy war against abstinence, the drunken army charged the divine tent. Rolling Dionysus up inside, the satyrs danced upon him as if he were grapes in a barrel. The maenads set the tent on fire, then hurled chunks of the charred god out onto the blood-soaked hills.

*  *  *

Gods who die tend to rise again, transformed. And thus each year, Demeter summons the sobered-up god of wine out of the Afghan soil, bit by bit, in the form of opium poppies.


Another fine entry on Dionsysus came from Sam Bieler of Jersey City, New Jersey, USA:

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. Dionysus couldn’t even remember swearing on the River Styx to foreswear all alcohol. Even if he had, it was supposed to be a gimmick. Go up to a cute wood nymph and tell her she was so beautiful the God of Wine would give up drink for her. Works. Every. Time.

Except this one. The nymph had come off a bad breakup with Apollo. After eight “prophecies” that had mysteriously not come true, she wasn’t taking anymore promises from the gods on faith. Not a problem, boasted Dionysus, tossing aside his ninth amphora of the evening. He had just the thing. 

And there was his stupid oath. Chiseled across Mount Freaking Parnassus. There was no getting it out of it either. The night had gone south, and he had turned the nymph into a tree. Or a  flower? A flowering tree? He couldn’t quite remember, and since none of the eight trees, four flowers, and three shrubs he had asked that morning had let him off the hook, the God of Wine was officially dry.

The problems had piled up faster than Hercules’s labors. He couldn’t drink but he was still the God of Wine. Greek gods can’t change their jobs. When Sisyphus bound Hades, people stopped dying. Zeus couldn’t just swap in Hermes to deliver souls instead of messages. Plus, even if he could change, what would he do? Swap with Athena? Hang out with some Stoic nerds? Absolutely not.

He could have made it work. He couldn’t drink, but his followers could. Dionysus could have told them to have a drink for him and savor what he could not. He could have been a party martyr. Unfortunately for Greece, a god sacrificing himself for the people was Jesus’s thing, and he wouldn’t be born for hundreds of years. Making your problems your followers’ problems – that’s where the Olympic Pantheon shined. 

It started small. Dionysus was out on the festival circuit, glowering as everyone reveled. Then, some drunk reveler bumped into him. He whipped around, slapped the cup out of their hand, and glared. What could they do? If the son of Zeus wants to ruin your party, you can’t really stop him.

It wasn’t quite as good as doing body cylixes off Aphrodite, but the sensation grew on him. Lecturing people on overconsumption and shooting them death-stares felt better than moping.

If you had to say where it all went wrong, it would be when the maenads got involved. When Dionysus ceased his revels, so did they. So, it made sense that when one saw her god slap a cup out of a satyr’s hand, she got excited and smashed an amphora. Suddenly, they were everywhere, overturning wine presses, ripping apart vineyards, and rampaging through Greece with a fury that 19th-century American temperance campaigners would, after reviewing the records, describe as “a little much.”

Only the Roman conquest brought relief.  A young centurion was tasked with confronting a rebellious passel of maenads and their restive deity. The soldier agreed that Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine, couldn’t have a drink. But, that oath said nothing about Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine, who, as everyone knew, happened to wear a diadem like the one the centurion, apropos of nothing, had brought to this meeting. Can’t argue with that, thought Dion–… Bacchus, as he slipped the circlet on.

Dionysus kept his oath and never drank again. This, as Bacchus told every Vestal Virgin in Rome, was a tragedy. He couldn’t even talk about it without weeping. He probably shouldn’t be alone tonight.

Among the very diverse poems we received, our favourites came from Georgina Longley, of Westgate-on-sea, England:

Mars Scolds Ovid

“Oh woe, I never should have left

my god-born realm of art and fire,

It really isn’t suiting me

to twiddle on Apollo’s lyre.

That wretched Ovid, he’s to blame

He took away my claim to fame.

Once I gave great men the chance,

To win glory. Now I’m made to dance.

But I do not have a graceful stride,

Nor indeed a source of pride.

Oh Ovid, Ovid, wherefore, wherefore

did you want to sing of arms and war?

Your wretched Amores, that’s what did it,

And shook the world up, you silly idiot.

Now I must dance, and play, and sing,

And Apollo tries to do my thing.

Oh, I cannot watch the world of war,

It makes my poor eyes wet and sore.

Once I scaled great Ilium’s towers,

Now Apollo holds my sword like flowers.

As for spears, he has no clue.

In war, no one knows what to do.

Mortals think I’m such a grump,

But these new powers leave me stumped.

The world’s gone mad, men are confused,

Apollo just sits there amused.

Well, I am not. This isn’t right.

Ovid, you pest, who let you write?

Cupid, I thought you made him stop,

But he’s turned us over bottom to top.

You pesky boy, go back and say,

‘Ovid, get back to love TODAY!’”

And Anna Agaronyan of Yerevan, Armenia, and Oxford, England:

God of Theatre

Why can’t mortals

Just follow the rules?

I set them out clearly!


No more than 3 glasses

Of diluted wine,

Going further is harmful.


But do they listen?


Then they wake up that morning


And blame me for

Inciting frenzy, see

They had to keep drinking


To connect with me.

Stop whining, you’re either

Lying or stupid.


There are safer ways to

Connect with a god

Without ever breaking his rules.


But you’ve been aware of them

For centuries, and still insist

On drinking booze from bottles


Rather than cups.

Well, if your only excuse

Is our connection,


I will reshape it



No longer shall I be known as the

God of Wine, no,

Forget that moniker;


Should you want to connect with me,

Come see a play with the god

Of Theatre and Drama.

(It used to be free.)


Watching a good play

Or a concert or

Musical, will make you feel


Like the air you breathed in

Went down the right pipe

Bypassing your lungs, heading


Straight for the heart.

Your spirit touches

Mine and for a moment – you’re divine.


Breathe it in.


Catch the aroma of the


Taste the spotlight


With the tip of your tongue.

Is it dry?

Oh, it’s oaky? Have fun with guessing now


That this frenzy-free connection

Is the only choice

You have.


Just make sure to

Enjoy it and

Never ever blame me


For your screwups




More laconic, it must be said, was this spicy little limerick from Tully Williams of Verona, New Jersey:

There once was a goddess named Venus,

whose charms were well known to the penis.

When having a drink,

she happened to think,

of a better life without sex between us.

Among our field of 18-and-under entries, we were most impressed by the following bunch. Lila Datta, from Claygate in Surrey, England, offered up a brilliant skit of the “Thracestock” festival:

And Avalokita Bhatta of Sydney, Australia, turned up this remarkable transcript of some hoary 1930s BBC documentary about Dionysus and the Lysistratans:

An excellent reimagining of Dionysus-gone-wrong came from Harry Dawes of Monmouth, Wales:

“O good gracious god, another harvest has left us dry. My people are struggling to survive in such severe circumstances and furthermore I fear for the future. The years have been so unfavourable and I call upon your mighty counsel so… Dionysus, do you hear me?”

“Aaaa yes,” belched the mighty god. “I will see to your wishes but do cheer up man! What’s not to love with such a fruitful existence we all share – a true wonder! Why despair in a world that possesses a beaten sun that forever shines once more! Now, restore my peace.”

The man stood perplexed, attempting to make sense of the slurred speech, before exiting.

Dionysus slouched back into his recliner, willingly returning to his slumberous state. The permanent luxuries of liquor had taken their toll on the god: Matted hair laid limp, protruding the slightest suspicions of silver over an aging face, etched coarsely with darkened creases. A deepened rose had furthered his flush profile and opposed his shallowed, blue pupils – sunk in his watery gaze. His crumpled robe failed to hide his eccentric body shape, dotted with the occasional red splash. An immortal you would have guessed not …

“I cannot stand this! Not one more moment!” a voice screeched.

Dionysus lurched upwards, his unparalleled instincts battling his wariness. From this unvoluntary act, he encountered a raging percussion playing in his skull.

“I cannot believe you – disregarding your duty to those in need and leaving them in darkness! What has become of my valiant lover? I ask this of the Gods yet the question is directed at you!” the voice continued.

Numbed senses began to carve a passage back to clarity. Squinting and seething under the spotlight, Dionysus sought out for his gold-plated rhyton.

“No! No more from the vine. It is time you see your true self.” Her voice insisted.

It was not a pretty sight. Dionysus felt repealed at the being staring back at him. Ariadne was right; change was needed.

“I stand forth here and recognise no man before me. For far too long, my judgement has been clouded and my nobility left to rot. No more! My cup I call on so boldly shall be left alone, only to be revived by its need. Come, dawn of day and with your fresh beginning shall come prosperity!”

Fortunately, dawn did indeed come the very next day.

“My soul feels sour and my heart declines all pleasures. The eyes seek too much truth and indulge in overripe tastes. My scorned tongue sees the world for what it is, revelling at its true, acidic self. A foul fate I have appointed on oneself.” Uttered the newly dreaded Dionysus.

Unfortunately, many dreary dawns did pass.

“Clear away. Decaying apples appeal to me more than dealing with you.” Ushered a certain, spiteful God.

“O my loving lord, I wish to enquire one small matter if you would bless me with your presence.”

“Go on, simple man. I warn you however – speak swiftly.”

“Our lands spout out rich rewards and bless us with fine seasons. Our crops have and continue to grow tenfold by your doings and my people are forever grateful. And yet, we have lost strength of spirit. We lack love and feel as though we no longer exist.

Dionysus pondered on this information. True, fertility had reached new peaks but humour had run dry. What was life worth without enjoyment? Alas! A solution struck the god – one which achieved the best of both worlds and in the process, savoured his taste buds…

Hence, drinking in moderation was created.

Of our entries in verse, we enjoyed all of them. But our favourite was penned by Mathilde Farlam of London, England:

Awake, my beloved


Lover I once was.

I saw nothing

Felt everything

Pleasure from anything.


Bodies entwined

Souls alive

Heart and mind

May we find

Harmony in our love.


Might I not lose that now?

Now that your body is not here

Now that our souls are dead

Now that the romance is gone,

Rotten like this world?



For the world is blossoming,

Now I see it. You are

Blossoming. Blooming. Flourishing.



For I look at you again,

A friend, not a lover,

And still, to me,

You are beautiful.

Many congratulations to all above, and many thanks, as ever, to everyone who gave over some time and effort to our competiton. We expect that you will enjoy our Winter competition a lot…