Notes from the NS archive

RSS

How the NS celebrated the last royal birth: "A thankful nation's overjoyed / To have three million unemployed"

A poem by Roger Woddis.

Demijohn

To commemorate the birth of the Royal baby, the Daily Telegraph published “A Nativity Ode, with apologies to the Poet Laureate”.

Once all our vigil fears were gone,
They rushed to bend the knee, Sir John,
And we must thank the Telegraph
For giving Britain such a laugh.
You would have blushed with shame, or worse,
If you had penned such ghastly verse,
But something makes this crap unique –
It wasn’t written tongue-in-cheek.
“From her there shines a son.” (I quote).
You’d shudder if you ever wrote
Appalling lines like these, Sir John.
“The moon did run” – I can’t go on.

Only a dried-up soul and sour
Would fail to celebrate the hour
When any woman’s time is due
And both of them come safely through;
But if one lifts a flowering glass,
(Whatever else the State affords,
It’s not the Marsden’s cancer wards.)
Come, let us look to our defences
And go for panem et circenses:
A thankful nation’s overjoyed
To have three million unemployed.

25 June 1982