Friday 31 December 1999
Perfect as the name may seem
For something flakey, cold and mixed
This poem is not about ice-cream
But now the wine is duly poured
Before the vintage changes name
Come charge your glass in equal portions
Fear and wonder, dashed with shame.
In January, cold and damp
Beside a nibbled Norfolk coast
A henge of gnarled trees appeared
A four-millennia ancient ghost
In spite of pleas to leave it be
And let the sea reclaim its own
The diggers and the hard-hats came
To take it to some safety zone.
And thus began a muddled year
Of trying to fix what wasn't broke
While obdurately leaving be
Those things which bother normal folk.
Like transport. Buses, cars and trains
The nuts and bolts of A to B
Which stall more spanners in their way
Than trying to shift an ancient tree
And Prescott, like a boy who'd got
A train-set and Scalextric kit
All jumbled up in one big box
Could never make the pieces fit.
Before we knew it, Spring charged in
A roll of drums, a tally-ho!
The Lion was woken by the row
And blundered into Kosovo
Confused and groggy from his kip
And only half-prepared to fight
He watched the human lava slip
Down mountain passes day and night
And when the cost was reckoned up
And fragile peace secured the day
The words of Brecht still rang as true:
"Like love, War always finds a way."
Awards: A "Duke" for royal tact
Hmm... wonder who that's going to?
The "Widdecombe" for showbiz nous
And how to work a passport queue
The prizes for the next three boys
Detention, housepoint loss, disgrace
To Aitken, Archer, Hamilton
For first-rate fiction in each case.
The "William Hague" to William Hague
For such bad luck it wasn't fair
The "What's This Global Warming John?"
To Mrs Prescott and her hair
The "Murdstone" Education Prize
For propagating pre-school gloom
To Mr Woodhead and the team
For Learning Targets In The Womb
Nostradamus blew it big style
With his Armageddon tips
Overshadowed late in summer
Literally, by the eclipse.
In the end, the year surrendered
To the Net and mobile phone
Ninety Nine. Mwah! Gonna miss U.
Melted. Like the ice-cream cone.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Students heading off to 'charity challenge' grounded at Gatwick after travel firm goes bust
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
- 5 Like Jennifer Aniston, I am no less of a woman because I am childless
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Strictly Come Dancing v X Factor: Simon Cowell blasts BBC over scheduling war
Doctor Who series 8: Ofcom will not investigate lesbian kiss
Burning Man Festival 2014: Thousands gather in Nevada's Black Rock Desert a day late after rain postponed official start
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
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