Bizarre, we freely admit - but it seemed somehow to capture the imagination of Independent readers, provoking little oriental gems from all quarters of the kingdom, ranging across the aesthetic spectrum, from tacky to downright sticky.
We offered a prize of a week's pork luncheon meat to the winner, and a year's supply to the runner-up. Everyone, apart from the surprisingly large number of vegetarians who entered, wanted second prize.
The favourite theme was war-time recollection;
A tin hacked open
Soft meat thrust in anxious mouths
Dawn of D-day
wrote Geoffrey Williams, of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, supplemented by Christopher Pelly, of Poole, Dorset:
Remembered war fare:
Diced spam on willowed china
- I salivate now.
and John Hougham, of Gravesend, Kent:
recalls my war-time breakfasts.
Where's the powdered egg?
A number were more topical, along the lines of:
Though rubbery pink
Spam is free of BSE:
Safe to eat, I think.
by John Meehan, of Brentwood, Essex, or reflective:
Luncheon meat may say, "I'm pink
Therefore I am spam."
by Janet McKnight, of Loughborough, in Leicestershire. Others were gleefully unsentimental, such as the offering from C Coverdale, of London SW19:
Oh piggy, piggy.
growing fat, made into spam,
now feeding my cat!
or simply exhibitionist, like this one in Latin by PJ Brace, of London E3:
Puero panis frusta
Auferrebant a me spem
Cur? - Inerat spam!
Most common were mere "celebrations of spam":
oh oh oh oh oh
Each syllable as precious
as a slice of spam.
(Malcolm Bell, London SW16);
Love - you can keep it.
I have to have pork in me.
Spam! Open a tin.
(Bobby Mill, Basildon, Essex);
Soft pink inside, golden fried:
Fragrant spam fritter.
(James Gray, by e-mail).
So what about the victors?
Runner-up would have been Adrian Mitchell, who, among a gaggle of offerings came up with the best nostalgia-driven version:
Spam goes on and on.
Who but me remembers Spam's
wartime rival, Prem?
But we had to disqualify him on Olympic amateur rules, so the second prize goes to Timothy Robey, of Ainsdale, Southport, Merseyside, for poignancy:
Transforms gelatinous spam
To undreamed beauty.
And the winner, for wit, elegance and sheer poetic poise, is Neil Vesma, Newent, Gloucestershire:
So that pigs might fly
I throw my spam at the sun
Pink arc through blue air
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