The Weekly Muse
Saturday 24 April 1999
To warn that summer's coming
And rattles on the skylights
A syncopated drumming
As glistening in the gutters
The hailstones fuse together
The Devil's own confetti
At the marriage of the weather.
The sixth of May approaches
And the politicians wait
While the dog of devolution
Gnaws the ancient bones of state
As a ghostly Roman soldier
Who is haunting Hadrian's Wall
On a wet and windy evening
Hears a Pictish warrior call:
"So Gordon Brown has done it
Stemmed SNP advances
But six Scots in the Cabinet?
He couldn't take the chances
Though miracles allowing
If Labour seats should fall
The way the mood's been lately
We might rebuild yon wall."
"A good idea," the Roman said
"With rising tax no doubt
You'd need to keep your people in
More than to keep us out."
With dentists on the NHS
More rare than dung of rocking-horse
Britannia's teeth are in a mess
No prize for guessing why of course
Or when it was the rot set in
Or who was in the driver's seat
And sacrificed free dental care
To boast a better balance sheet.
But nice to hear Rab Butler's thoughts
Endorsed, if not exhumed, of late
As Peter Lilley praised in speech
The virtues of the welfare state
And pledge of funds to keep it safe
For people of the poorer sort.
Let's have a clack of blackened teeth
And demonstrate our full support:
So fiddle on, Dave Swarbrick
Though poorly, not deceased
Who found his own obituary
Was premature at least.
But most musicians know this
Although it goes unsaid:
Miss two nights in the taproom
Your mates all think you're dead.
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 2 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
- 5 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Better Call Saul: Breaking Bad spin-off gets release date, logo and ominous new trailer
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine