Poem of the Day: Austere New Year

And now, for the counterpoint:

Sling another chair leg on the fire, Mother

Sling another chair leg on the fire, Mother,
Pull your orange box up to the blaze,
Hold your poor old mittens out and warm them
In these inflationary days.
Sink your teeth into that dripping sandwich,
Flick the telly on to channel nine,
And if we get the sound without the picture
Well, I’ll kick it in the kidneys, one more time.

Come with me out to the empty garage,
We haven’t been there for a week or more,
We’ll bow our heads and gaze in silent homage
At the spots of oil upon the floor.
We’ll think of when we had a motor car there,
Which used to take us out in rain or shine,
Before the price of petrol went beyond us,
And we’ll make believe we kept it, one more time.

Fling another sausage in the pan, Mother!
We’ll laugh away our worries and our cares,
But we’ll never get a doctor after hours, Mother,
So for God’s sake don’t go falling down the stairs.
Toss another lentil in the soup, Mother!
And serve it up before the News at Nine,
And if the GPO detector spots us,
Make believe we’ve got a licence, one more time.

There was a time we’d booked up for Ibiza,
We’d bought the suntan lotion and the clothes,
But we never got beyond the travel agent,
‘Cause Court Line organized the one we chose.
So knock the clouds of dust from off the brochure,
Wipe the 40-watt bulb free of grime,
Turn the dog-eared pages to Ibiza,
And we’ll make believe we got there, one more time.

Pass me the hatchet and the axe, Mother!
Wipe away that sad and anxious frown,
What with these inflationary spirals,
It’s nice to see the table falling down.
Your poor old shins will soon be good and mottled,
Once the flames get round that teak veneer,
And in the ring of warm and dancing firelight,
We’ll smile and wish each other: Happy New Year.

Pam Ayres


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