Nothing happened, and ev’rybody laughed
The calendar had clicked all four digits over
With not a single meltdown or mem’ry overdraft
Indeed, the new Millennium was very much in clover
We ridiculed the doomsayers, tarred and feathered verbally,
And claimed we’d never for a second fallen for their con –
Our tech was indestructible, whatever their hyperbole,
And got on with our daily lives as if the sun still shone.
And the calendars clicked, and on we went,
All thanks to the graft of the geeks we smear –
The lack of excitement their greatest testament.
We’re welcome. Happy new year.
Where’s my briefcase ? What a caper,
What a stupid thing to lose.
Therein lay my evening paper,
Now I cannot read the news.
Whoops, there goes my blue Bic biro,
Gosh, there goes my travel card;
Not much pickings here, I know,
It’s not a case for Scotland Yard.
So who are you, thief or finder ?
Did I cast a wealthy look ?
Could you post my gas reminder
And return my library book ?
Just ignore my works’ outpouring
So, you see, I’m pretty boring,
Pretty much an average case.
You’re filling the halls from the gods to the stalls,
You’re shaking the walls with your blast –
You cry your encores as you cheer yourselves hoarse
For the grand tour de force of the cast.
And how they deserve all the plaudits you serve,
For they are the verve of the play;
But spare just a few for their hard-working crew,
For we perform too, in our way.
Ordered by social convention into inaction,
I sit at my desk and abstain –
I keep my head down and stare at my pen till I hear
The murmur of morning again.
Like most, I start on my shutdown at ten-fifty-eight,
And end at eleven-oh-four,
To cover the randomly-synchronised watches of colleagues –
And never mind minding the store.
Across the room, someone is typing. (Is that still allowed ?)
Their rat-a-tat keystokes clatter.
A phone rings out the alarm, which nobody answers,
Till voicemail settles the matter.
I ought to be thinking, I know, of tommies and trenches,
Of birdsong, bombardements and screams –
Instead, I just notice this shuffle’ing silence-by-rote –
My thoughts are deserters, it seems.
Locksmithing looks like a lonely profession –
You get out to meet with the public, for sure,
But only the once, on your knees at their door.
You wrestle my barrel with little progression –
I’d naively pictured a surgeon-like skill:
Lockpicks and skeletons – rather than chisel and drill.
You work with me watching you over your shoulder,
Incase your tools gives my lockplate a nick –
What else can I do as we wait for the click ?
The drizzle picks up and your fingers grow colder,
Still trying to jiggle and jostle and jolt –
My whole life is trapped by a quarter-inch tamper-proof bolt.
And as for my neighbours – despite all your racket
While drilling-out, hammering, jemmying, screwing,
There’s none of them come by to check what you’re doing.
I s’pose I’ll take solace in how you must whack it !
I guess my old lock kept me truly secure –
A pity you must rip this hero from off of my door.
Finally ! You swing the door open to grant re-admittance,
My castle is taken – besieged, though benign –
And all my possessions are once again mine !
Though looking around, it feels like a housebreaker’s pittance –
My lack of ’lectronics and marble and chrome
Was probably all this time keeping me safe in my home.
You offer me three diff’rent grades of replacement,
With some anti-bump, anti-snap – and you grin:
“With this one, not even a locksmith could win !”
Though all this is pointless if I haven’t locks on each casement –
No-one will sweat on the strongest-held link
If the toplight’s ajar once again by the sink.
At last, I’m shaking your hand and writing your cheque.
Despite the assault on my fraught liquidity,
I have been saved from my own stupidity.
I show you at last to the door, which you brought back to spec.
“We shan’t meet again, I pray !” Your expression
Makes me think locksmithing looks like a lonely profession.
Beyond the tabs, there lurks this guy
Who hangs about in wing and fly,
Behind the flat and scaff and track
In creeping soles and black-on-black.
He waits in darkness for an age
To make his entrance on the stage
To set the prop and push the truck,
But only when the lights have struck.
So should you see him here tonight
Upon the thrust when all is bright;
If left exposed, a frightened stray –
Please pity him, and look away.