Friday, December 26, 2008


Recessional by Alan Franks.
A poem written specially for Christmas for  Ruth Gledhill's blog in The Times, with apologies to John Betjeman and Rudyard Kipling.

Gracious Lord, it seems like ages
Since we had a little chat.
Heaven knows, we've all been anxious -
Not that we blame you for that.
Father, what a dreadful year,
Losing much we hold most dear.
I am loath to add to such
An inventory of loss and stress:
From Northern Rock to - goodness - Woolworths
(Though we veer to M and S.)
Yet one-eight-nine Cadogan Square
Once more requires your special care.

Through the war, you well remember,
How your will was amply done,
Sparing our grandparents from
The hand of, pardon me, the Hun.
The slump, we fear, will make us suffer
Worse effects than the Luftwaffe.

Such is fame today, we only
Note the great ones going down,
Overlooking, most unjustly,
Unsung firms like Harkness Brown
Where hardly anyone was caught
In any form of selling short,

Least of all my husband Harry
Who's entirely lost his pep;
Joe and Jonquil both at Eton,
Podge and Mimi still at prep;
Our tiny Norfolk hideaway
Gone back below 500 k.

Intending no irreverence,
Your house has likewise shed some stock.
You for this are once more blameless,
We who should be in the dock.
(For what it's worth I'm in the tent
Of antidisestablishment.)

We will labour, Lord, to value
What is not material,
Not that we pretend this won't be,
To begin with, hard as hell.
We will strive to feel we're blessed
With liberty through joblessness.

And we'll definitely stop saying
How we're neighbours of the Blairs,
And we'll jettison our shame
And empty anger when we hear
That dull young man from Foxtons state
We're only looking at 3.8.

Lord, I will leave your house til next time
Willing servant, mother, wife,
Praying that, if appropriate,
You bring the market back to life.
Meanwhile, though little and though late,
I've left a tenner in the plate.