Friday, 18 November 2011

The Right Train

(With apologies to W.H. Auden’s ‘The Night Train’)

These are the passengers crossing the border,
Waiting to check that all is in order,
Passports from the rich, passports from the poor,
They queue round the corner and out of the door.
It’s a hell of a task, a mountain to climb:
Calling them forward one a time.
Then here comes one who’s somewhat bolder
To see for herself what Brodie told her,
Snorting sniffily as she passes,
The grumbling miles of weary masses,
They all turn their heads as she approaches,
And herds them into the waiting coaches.
It’s a pilot scheme and it’s set on course;
To bolster the local labour force
Whilst shortening the queues at the lowest cost,
For the minimum wage, all paperwork lost.

Theresa smiles. Her work is done.
Down towards Parliament she descends
Towards politicians at Question Time,
Towards journalists and assembled media
Waiting to hear her proclamation.
The United Kingdom waits for her:
Huddled round TV screens, computers, iPhones
Men long for news.

She’s made up her mind to close her ears,
To her loyal employee who’s served 40 years.
Denies all knowledge of collusion.
No, this is his own final solution.
He takes the hint with resignation,
Then states his case to the waiting nation.
But Theresa’s reputation’s intact,
And Brodies’s statement can’t detract,
From her kitten heels and perfect bob,
Come what May; He’ll lose his job.

And he will wake soon and long for letters,
And will not hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

© Marilyn Brindley

Ex-borders chief Brodie Clark: I didn't go rogue
Marilyn is a retired primary school head teacher, who now has the time to indulge in the writing she's always wanted to do and read the works of other creative individuals.