The Osborne and the Cameron

The Osborne and the Cameron
    disturbed the oysters’ sleep:
by saving sandgrains from the strand
     they made the oysters weep.
‘Should seven widows give their mites
     to us for seven years,
do you think, dear Ozzie, that our debts
     would somehow all be cleared?’
‘—Call the knackers,’ he replied,
     ‘And let them axe
          all facts!’

The Osborne popped his bully cork
     and struck the wasteful sun –
the oysters barked, so in the dark
     he ate them one by one.
‘Should seven virgins save their oil
     to balm our troubled brains,
do you feel, dear Clammy, we’d have power
     for buses and for trains?’
‘—Control the yackers,’ he opined,
     ‘who knows, once hacks

The Cameron buttered buttered bread,
     cut slices from the moon,
and, as the oysters whined, each oik
     met with his silver spoon.
‘Should seven single mothers breed
     a sprog for seven years,
could they not eat them, Ozzie, sweet,
     with lashings of cheap beer?’
‘—Tolls for slackers!’ he announced,
     ‘let’s tax all sacs
          and cracks!’

‘Should seven bankers, shellfish-gorged,
     give us the seventh part
of all their profits, Clammy, pray,
     would we then give a fart?’
‘—Poll our backers,’ he declared,
     ‘and then we’ll sack
          some clerks…’

The Osborne and the Cameron
     dismantled with a pick
the whole sea-bed – and so, though dead,
     the oysters made them sick.


About Bill Herbert

Poet and pseudo-scholar W.N. Herbert was born in Dundee in 1961, educated there and at Oxford, where he completed his DPhil thesis on Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid, and now lives and works in Newcastle. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and his books are published by, among others, northern publisher Bloodaxe Books. He is also the Dundee Makar, or city laureate.
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