1939 - Nerves

I think I'll get a paper,

I think I'd better wait.

I'll hear the news at six o'clock,

That's much more up-to-date.

It's just like last September,

Absurd how time stands still;

They're bound to make a statement.

I don't suppose they will.

I think I'd better stroll around.

Perhaps it's best to stay.

I think I'll have a whisky neat,

I can't this time of day.

I think I'll have another smoke.

I don't know what to do.

I promised to ring someone up,

I can't remember who.

They say it's been averted.

They say we're on the brink.

I'll wait for the New Statesman,

I wonder what they think.

They're shouting. It's a Special.

It's not. It's just street cries.

I think the heat is frightful.

God damn these bloody flies.

I see the nation's keeping cool,

The public face is fine.

This crisis can't shake England's nerve . . .

It's playing hell with mine.


This article first appeared in the 29 November 1999 issue of the New Statesman, An explosion of puffery