These days, ev’ryone has their flag, Their brand, their team – I see them as their colours stream upon the breeze. I don’t know what they mean, Not any of these – But they sure look grand ! These layer-cakes in purple, pink, and green To folks in far-off lands That will never be reached by me first-hand, But it’s good to know they’re there, That they still get seen. And those who fall-out inbetween, The citizens of elsewhere, Who are ev’ry bit as keen to share – Not part of this, nor part of that, Yet part of where our culture’s at – They’re hesitant to wear the stripes we’ve flown, Or sport our crest – Well, there’s always room within the nest For strangers with another face – They get to make a banner of their own, To fly with all the rest. Eventu’ly, I’ll see it grace A new lapel or wedding dress – Another flag I cannot place, But somebody salutes, I guess. Well, good for them – what’s one more more-or-less ?
Agatha Christie cherished the Tories, Kept the masses out of her stories – Servants were faceless, background filler – Never the victim, never the killer. Whodunnits by nature are class-based, though, With chaos disrupting the status quo, That must be traced and rooted out Before it spreads its dangerous doubt. Now true, she distrusted businessmen, And makes them villains agen and agen, Not like a blue-blooded, honourable gent – But was this an anti-Semitic bent ? Of course, she hated the socialist – But wait, with her there’s always a twist ! Just witness her Nile when splashed on the stage, With Poirot banished back to the page – Instead, a Canon is quizzing them, While building his new Jerusalem – One wonders what he might behold ? A commune or sorts ? We’re not quite told. And then, at last, there’s Mr Smith – The snidy lefty they’re travelling with. Part hypocrite, but only a part, When a short-hand typist catches his heart. He makes some good points along the way, That it’s hard to imagine our Agatha say – Perhaps once the cuts had been applied, It left no room for a seedier side. All-in-all, a little less sour, Just as Attlee was coming to power. For this one trip, it must be said, It wasn’t only her herrings were red.
I will never condone an execution, It is no solution to crime. And I have no truck with zealotry, Give me liberty ev’ry time ! So I won’t swing the axe for preference, When my deference has deceased – I’ll turf you out of your feathered bed, But I’ll spare you your head, at least…
Hang-out the bunting, And string-up the flags, Polish-up the fronting, And hide-away the rags – Toady-up with treacle And dream of days-of-yore – We’ve never been less equal Since the Second World War.
Roll-out the barrel, And goose-step the boot, Sing along the carol While standing to salute. Tweet-away like blackbirds, And dream-away like cats, We’ve never been more backwards Since our arses got so fat.
Shout-out the new reign, And ra-ra the crowds, Hope it turns out nice again, Let’s pray-away the clouds. Top-hole and tally-ho, And dream we rule the waves – We’ve never had a say, though, Since we’re corporation slaves.
Dig-out the three-piece, And doff caps and bonnets, The fawning must not cease In its biscuit-tins and sonnets. Tear-up far too eager, And dream of wealth unchecked – We’ve never been so meagre Since we sold our self-respect.
The garland-weavers’ co-op Having pruned the May-queen’s crown With the wrong sort of dead-heading, Give the Springtime Sun a frown. Well, the pole-erectors union Won’t take this lying-down !, As the tulips will not open, While the waterlilies drown – And the morris-men eschew the white, And the Beltane brides the gown, As the fellowship of fairy-folk Are marching through the town.
I do a ton of work For a pittanceful of brass, But the wokies claim I shirk Cos I’m white and working class, And that immigrants are doing All the jobs I should be doing, But which they themselves aren’t doing, As they give themselves a pass.
And the immigrants are only working hard Because they must – Like me, however much we’re scarred, It’s either that or bust. While the wokies sit there cooing Over how much work we’re doing – Work the wokies are eschewing, Thinking all is fair and just.
So you’re the new lad come to join me Digging graves for young and old ? I’ve started one if you’d like to see, Though a hole is not much to behold. But still, you’ve joined an honest trade – Now don’t stand gawping, grab a spade !
Yes, yes, I’ve heard the rumours too – When nobles die, the mill grinds fast. Poor lass, but that’s so often true – We only meet then at the last. They’ll bring her soon from out the kirk To rest within our handiwork.
At least her grave’s beneath a willow – Hope her shade enjoys the shade. She has a headstone for a pillow – Let her sleep, no more afraid. I’ve heard it said, since days of yore, All willows weep in Elsinore.
But as for those she leaves behind, I sense a civil war is brewing. Keep your head down, deaf and blind, Don’t worry what those lords are doing. The kings may change, but we’re still here, Digging trenches year on year.
We chafe our hands and break our backs Because a serf is born to toil. So when a king demands his tax, We dig his nation’s precious soil. And if another claims his throne, He gets to lie in here, alone.
Well, I’d say that we’re nearly done. So climb on out and take a breath. Then time to dig another one – There’s never any break from death. And if we’re heading for a war, Then we’ll be needing plenty more…
The flourishing show-off their fruits, As they always do, From star to plutocrat. And I want to hate their loot – But then I hear you Saying I’m better than that. Not better than them, no, They clearly are winning, And I couldn’t compete if I tried. But I mustn’t get low If I want to keep grinning – I mustn’t give in to my cynical side.
The skilful exploit the thing they do, Create a buzz, With even better times to come. Now the world’s not fair, it’s true, It never was, But is success then zero-sum ? You always told me, don’t despise, Don’t bitch and sleight – To be myself, and not some copycat. But dammit, it’s so hard to rise Above the spite, It’s so hard to be better than that.
Don’t snub them, don’t hate them, Don’t read the bad press, Don’t seek out their scandal, don’t kiss them and tell. But call them, and honestly congratulate them For their great success Which they handle so well. I can hear your voice admonishing me For unworthy bile And poisonous chat. I hate that you’re right, but we must let it be – So paste on a smile And be better than that.
I want to scream, and curse my fate, And spit their names – But dammit, I can’t give in now – It hurts to be considerate, But paranoid games Are indulgences that I cannot allow. Don’t suck-up and don’t condemn, Let it go, Don’t measure myself with where they’re at. I’ll never be better than them, I know, But at least I can be better than that.