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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

To Ronald Searle

Schoolgirls are very well, but there was more:
Those toothy birds and feline psychopaths,
Those wrinkly grins and eyeball-popping wraths,
Electric whiskers round the manic maw;
The bibulous and bibliophile alike,
Their blatherings of old books and old wine,
Trapped in your delicately poisoned line
Then skewered on a fine arachnid spike.

Although you wrote that tougher minds had paled
That school for junior horrors, hags and tarts
From noir to a nostalgic rosy pink,
Your acid and your vision rarely failed.
Goodbye, and thank you from our eyes and hearts
For all your witchery of pen and ink.

© Philip Challinor

Ronald Searle, St Trinian's creator, dies aged 91
Philip blogs at 'The Curmudgeon' - He insists, "You'll come for the curses. You'll stay for the mudgeonry." Philip is the author of a number of books.


  1. A fitting tribute to a creative genius whose influence spread far and wide. I do like the spider analogy.

  2. One of my favourite pictures from his album of booksellers' jargon, Slightly Foxed But Still Desirable, is the one for "Name on fly", which shows a collector being grinned at by a giant bluebottle whose abdomen is tattooed with the word "Albert". But try getting that into a sonnet.

  3. Not a bad innings for a Custard.