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The Weekly Muse

A hailstorm hits the terrace

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.