This lion once lay by Britannia’s side –
on a ten pence I wore the crown with pride.
But now that’s the only place I’m complete;
on the two pence – I’ve got no feet.
The twenty pence is even worse –
all you can see of me is my arse!
On the five I’m just a head and a tail –
the whole design is an epic fail.
(A coin without a number in sight?
Even the euro could get that right.)
Oh, sometimes you’ll see me, rampant, alone
or with the unicorn, guarding the throne,
and (rarely) a trio of lions, couchant –
but most days a dragon is easier to spot.
Across the currency we’re scattered;
Britannia’s lions, her pride, in tatters.
Using public transport
is more often trial than joy,
but today behind me on the bus
I heard a little boy
sitting on his mother’s lap,
face against the glass,
calling names of vehicles
whenever they went past.
Cars, he didn’t bother with;
he wanted things like “truck”
“ambulance” and “caravan”
or “double-decker bus”.
Then we stopped by a building site –
his poor brain overloaded.
So many names burst out of him,
I thought that he’d exploded.
“Forklift truck!” he screamed with glee.
“Lorry – cement mixer!
Caterpillar truck! A crane!
Van! Bulldozer! Digger!”
It made the whole bus smile.
And me? I wished I shared his luck –
to have a child’s uncomplicated life,
the joy of trucks.
I know a girl who’s bored to tears with temping –
finding something more exciting is her goal.
Admin simply isn’t sexy!
Sad, but true – she finds this vexing,
and so she’s looking for another role.
She thought she’d try to be a trolley dolly,
serving meals and duty free aboard a plane –
till she heard if you’re a man, then
you’ll be called a wagon dragon
(which is, you must admit, a cooler name.)
She next thought she could be a llama farmer,
for the job title alone would raise a smile.
Then she met some – it’s a fact that
she’d be happier with alpaca –
they’re calmer than a llama, by a mile!
So then she thought she’d like to be a fluffer,
pulling bits of fluff from tracks for subway trains –
but she found that also to be
work off-screen in adult movies
(‘preparing’ actors – no, I won’t explain!)
But, though she finds herself still trapped in admin,
now the company’s been brainstorming job names –
and they’re calling her position
‘workplace processes technician’.
Sounds better – though the pay remains the same!
I tidied up my poetry books –
but now they’re alphabetised,
Leonard Cohen and Wendy Cope
are snuggled side by side.
I’m not sure that I trust those two
together, after dark –
but who can slip between them?
Aha – John Cooper Clarke!
Yes, of course I’ll baby-sit all weekend.
No, it’s not a problem, not at all.
Two days and nights – the time will simply fly by!
Sure, the three of us will have a ball…
Yes, I’ll try to help you with your homework.
Yes, I’d love to help you draw a train.
I’ll check no spiders lurk behind the toilet,
then I’ll watch you play your Minecraft game.
No – it’s time to turn off the computer.
Yes, that is exactly what Mum said –
and now it’s time to put on your pyjamas.
Yes, I do know when you go to bed!
Why is it so hard to put on trousers?
Please, will you stop wriggling – for me?
No – don’t wave your bare bottom out the window!
No, the neighbours do not want to see!
Let’s go walking to the park this morning –
Mummy says you always like to go.
Yes, we’re going – you’ll love it when you get there…
Now you don’t want to leave? Told you so!
No – put down that massive water pistol!
Please, don’t push your brother off the tree –
I don’t want to have to tell your mother
we all had to visit A&E.
Yes, of course I’ll let you text your mummy
“I love you” (awww!) – you can use my phone.
(And when they’ve finished, I’ll text too. My message –
“Please, please, tell me – are you coming home?!”)
Some people babyproof their homes,
with cupboard locks, fireguards.
She took a more direct approach –
she babyproofed her heart.
It has no shiny surface
where a child could fall or trip.
There are no nooks or crannies
for a chubby hand to grip.
It’s not she doesn’t like kids
(though it’s true she needs her space) –
she loves her sibling’s offspring
so she knows that’s not the case.
But she will not bring a child into
a world so full of pain –
babyproof she’s always been,
and ever shall remain.
It’s like another land inside the telly!
So far, in every ad I’ve seen for booze,
there’s never been a man with a beer belly
and not a single one of them has moobs.
In Advertland, the roads are always empty.
Nobody in McDonald’s ads is fat,
and everyone in ads for Match is pretty –
in Facebook ads, nobody’s handicapped.
The women trying to lose weight all look healthy
(though some of them shave legs that have no hair)
and when it’s time for them to do their laundry
you’ll find no sign of dirty underwear.
In Advertland, the houses are enormous.
The bathrooms are all spotless (unlike mine) –
except for in the ads for cleaning products,
where women wipe away CGI grime.
Here, constipated ladies dance with yoghurt –
yet never do you see them near a loo!
A ghostly Audrey Hepburn’s eating chocolate,
in Advertland, where nothing shown is true.
There’s one like me in every home –
I’m the little sharp knife.
Compared to other cutlery,
I lead a thrilling life.
I’m not stuck in some old canteen,
I’m not part of a pair.
The dish ran away with the spoon –
but me? Free as the air!
I’ll often come in handy for
what DIY requires –
from acting as a screwdriver,
to stripping ends of wires.
I’ll cut wallpaper down to size
(and wrapping paper too).
I’ll be your letter opener,
prise pebbles from a shoe.
And when you throw me in the sink,
all sticky from my chores,
I’ll lurk below the waterline
pretending that I’m Jaws…
How to feed a vegan –
it needn’t cause a fuss!
It’s easy to remember –
think ‘vegetarian – plus’.
They simply don’t eat animals,
no, not of any sort.
It really isn’t difficult –
it just requires some thought.
Yes, that’s including chicken,
and fish of every kind,
and Quorn (’cause it’s got egg white) –
but soya is just fine.
No things that come from animals –
like eggs and milk and cheese,
or gelatine (that’s made from hoof!)
or honey (made by bees).
And don’t forget the insects
that can hide inside a meal
(for some are used as additives –
beetles in cochineal).
So now you know the basics
about this kind of diet.
It’s healthy, and low-calorie –
perhaps you’d like to try it?
Have you ever sat at that table,
at a wedding? You know the one –
full of people without partners,
with traits nobody wants.
The independent women,
who persist in being single,
are never seated with couples
for fear that they might mingle.
The nun who, even in plain clothes,
exudes a faith too strong,
her chastity embarrassing
to those whose faith has gone.
And the widow who strives to be merry,
invited because she’s a friend
but not really wanted at weddings
for she’s living proof – love always ends.