One short, one long

(Listen to the poem)


Sometimes, at meetings,
purporting busily
to solve the problems of the world
in the time
left over
in between the coffee breaks,
a delegate gets up and says
he has a little something
he would like to do,
just two words he would like
to add,
one short, one long,to all the other ones,
which would endow our declaration
with a mellower taste
and make for
smoother satisfaction.
The words are
as appropriate“.
“It is innocuous,”
I’ve heard one say
in soothing tones.
Of course.
Think back to 1789:
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity-
as appropriate.
Or try:
I swear to tell the truth,
the whole etcetera etcetera,
as appropriate.
But I am grateful for this now.
I always used to be confused,
suspicious of my own suspicion,
but  when I hear our leaders
now, especially the ones with
bleary eyes, who seem to say:
“You really must believe me, look,
I’ve practised this expression hours and hours,
my ears are starting to ache awfully.”
Or those with dubba-digit IQ’s
and who get even less on
any of the scales scoring integrity,
I stir those freeze-dried words
into their murky pledges and
instantaneously
they all turn crystal clear.

Phillip Hill 2007

Listen to the poem

http://www.sidewaysstation.com/files/one_short.mp3
2588218_cover2

(This poem is included in my book The Observation Car which is available from

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