Nous Sommes Charlie

I Must Not Draw Mohammed by Plantu


Nous Sommes Charlie

Mohammad !  Yo, Hammad !
Say, what you so scared of ?
You won’t let us see you in pinkie and brow ?
What makes you so special
You get to be spared of
Our constant surveillance from cam’ras and eyes ?
The truth is, Mohammad,
We’re all of us spied on –
We’re all of us public and databased now.
So Jesus and Shiva,
And Thor and Poseidon,
Must get used to gawkers, or dress in disguise.

And as for your theory
We’ll worship your likeness –
I doubt that we’d give it much more than a glance.
For these days, we shrug at
The holy or righteous,
We’re far too anarchic, and sneerful and clever.
We see you, Mohammad,
But don’t see your proof.
But who cares ?  Stop sulking and join in the dance !
Don’t tell us you’d rather
Be veiled and aloof,
For these days all neighbours must rub by together.

Can gods and can mortals
Not laugh at each other ?
We’re all of us stupid – the flesh and divine.
So let fly the insults –
Don’t censor and smother !-
Say lard-bellied Buddha and pigeon-faced Ra.
From temple to steeple,
From Mecca to Delphi,
Your noses need tweaking, and so too does mine !
So smooth down the beards
And smile for the selfie,
And show us your best sides, your je ne sais quoi !

I know, Mo, I know !
When they’re thrusting their lenses,
It’s hard to keep posing, it’s hard to stay still.
But best grin and bear it
And drop our defences –
I feel a right charlie – but hey, c’est la vie !
When we lose our senses,
Our common and humour,
We end up with killjoys who actu’ly kill.
(Hey, I once heard you smiled,
Though that’s only a rumour…
But anyway, Mo, can you take one of me ?)



Whatever the Sconces, they all take the same Candles



Whatever the Sconces, they all take the same Candles

Menorah candles on Christmas day
To brighten up the early dark –
Never mind what some may say,
We’ll take the spark.

Mistletoe above the door
To bring some green into the gloom –
Never mind the ancient lore,
It cheers the room.

Buddha beads upon the tree,
Tinsel draped about Ganesh –
Who cares if the fusspots see,
We like the mesh.

Dinosaurs within the crib,
Gandalf decked in red and white –
Who cares if it’s all a fib,
It’s ours tonight.



Winning the Defeat



Winning the Defeat

It’s hard, but when we lose,
We have to lose,
We must concede, to start to heal the pain.
It’s madness to refuse
To quit the pews,
When all the others know that we are slain.
We must not blame the news,
Or voters’ views –
We had our chance, we fought a long campaign.

We stand and fall by word-of-mouth,
From Shetland North to Lizard South.
The terms are strict, the seats are leased,
From Dyfed West to Yarmouth East

We are not who they choose,
They’ve shifted muse,
And telling them they’re wrong is just insane.
We’ll only raise a bruise
Whose pus must ooze –
And we shall never wash away the stain.
The public shall accuse
Our desp’rate ruse –
In ev’ry sense, our protest is in vain.

And left or right, and right or left,
Impugn us all, but not of theft.
And win or lose, and lose or win,
The sun shall rise, the world shall spin.

We have to pay our dues
And lace our shoes,
And let the winning side begin their reign.
It’s hard, but when we lose,
We have to lose,
We have to stop the fight, to fight again.



Ev’ry Winner gets a Free Shave



Ev’ry Winner gets a Free Shave

            (after Herblock)

To ev’ry newly elected member,
Let me spruce you up for the Chamber !
To all of you who stood against
The very things I’m fighting for,
To all the new MPs who dream
Of showing immigrants the door,
To all the laws to squeeze the poor,
And all the shills of gutter press,
To all the friends of oil and banks,
And those who got us in this mess,
To all the demagogues of wars:
For all of that, this day is yours.

So step right up !  Come one, come all !
Majorities both great and small !
You sir !  The new-crownded minister !
I see the campaign’s left its mark –
You’re looking rather sinister
With pallor grey and stubble dark.
I’ll take a razor to your chin
And even-out your crooked grin,
And give no cause for dread
As I draw my blade across your throat,
Of a single fleck of red –
For my razor, sir, is not my vote.
So even if you’re not my choice,
You’re still my fellow voters’ voice,
When tallied, said and done.
So go on, sport your freshened face
And show us how to run the place –
This shave’s on me, old son !
But just the one…



Pencil on a String



Pencil on a String

(dedicated to all those who do apathy properly)

There’s some who say voting is pointless
But who always register on the rolls
And proudly walk to the place of polls
To add their protest to the tolls.
They take their voting paper
And refuse to make their mark,
(On principal – it’s not some caper or lark)
Then post their unblemished slip in the box
To highlight the lack of a Goldilocks,
Considering the election invalid –
An empty ballot cast for an empty ballot,
With candidates all just the same –
And whoever gets in, well, they’re not to blame.
And if what they say is silence,
Then still, it has to be said
At least they got off of their arses and got out of bed.
They think our nation’s fate, with dread,
Is in the hands of oiks and youths –
And like those pencils in the booths,
Is hanging by a thread.



Noughts & Crosses

The Polling Place by Gary Varvel


Noughts & Crosses

Ah, to be young in the lands of the free –
With the whole of your glorious future before you,
And giving no thought what that future may be.
Ah, to be young when the whole world adores you,
With no need to pay us a thought in return.
Enjoy your sweet apathy, ere you must learn.

Ah, to be only a shrug and a sigh,
To be ever-unsullied of needing to know.
You’re glad to be asked, yet you give no reply,
As our ministers come and our generals go.
Your life is for dreaming and dancing and drifting,
And never mind queuing and choosing and sifting.

Ah, to be young on a planet so old,
With its taxes and statutes and loopholes and blame,
Where fraud is rewarded with knighthoods and gold,
And where ev’ryone grumbles and goes on the same.
Ah, to be young and to not give a damn
For the stumps of the candidates promising jam.

Oh, to be agèd and cautious and wise,
In a compromised world with a weather-worn hope –
We’re hypocrites, surely, and all you despise,
As you wash off our greys with your black-and-white soap.
Ah, to be young in these battles we’re waging –
You never get jaded by never engaging.



An Ideal Crony

ideal husband
A lobby card from the 1947 Hollywood adaptation of An Ideal Husband, artist unknown.


An Ideal Crony

Sir Robert Chiltern, Bart –
A plummy, chummy, bleeding heart,
Who made some dosh insider trading –
Suddenly his star is fading
When extorted by a high-class tart.

What ho !, his chums in high-up places
Shall protect him from disgraces –
Don’t let on, don’t make a fuss,
For don’t you know he’s one of us ?
So stiffen up the lips on both his faces.

So what, a sacred trust was sold ?
We’d do the same for thirty gold !
So call the playwrite with the sharp wit,
Sweep it all beneath the carpet –
No need that the voting plebs be told…