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Poets Corner

SMOKESCREEN

02-07-2007

Blimey! A new prime minister, a terrorism threat AND a ban on smoking in public places? Sounds like a good week for our resident poet Brendan Hawthorne.

Down in the smoke

Gordon’s finally planted

his cheeks on Tony’s

gilt-edged swivel throne

A baptism of smoking guns

left him in possession

of the mandate of the Crown

and not of the vote

Brown dashes along

whitewashed Whitehall with

a portfolio clenched centrally

between his teeth

Embossed with

a lock-back no-spin grin

sporting the tax rake

like Poseidon’s trident

to poke the subversives

into a line of surrender

The ones who skulk

in dimly-lit alleyways

score deals

on shopping trip days

and menacingly cup

shaking hands around

the bleached paper jacket

that nicotine wears

They’re not early release prisoners

or terrorists

but anti-social smokers

found guilty of paying

the excise tax

Condemned for a habit

not a crime

because lighting up

in a public place

is top of the A-list

a social disgrace

as banned as fox hunting

and global warming

A moral code with

no upholding marshal

As Gordon’s inheritance

the ‘Trust me I’m a used

policy salesman’

falters around

leadership reassurances

of the emotionless untidy

face of Labour

promoted with the ideals

of a man who cannot tie

a Windsor knot

not even for the video bite

when highlighting

the terminal distractions

of policy and procedure

affecting law and order

And while Tony goes away

to extol the virtues

of keeping peace

from a corner of Europe

that is forever Britain

airports are left to

their own devices

and the bravery of

emergency services

and members of

the general public

because they live the reality

of a fall-out foreign policy

every single day

Copyright Brendan Hawthorne 2007

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