Thursday, 23 January 2014

She's no' Here (Mamma Mia)

A few years ago, the IT department in which I worked underwent a series of restructures, some of which resulted in phases of voluntary redundancies. I began to write alternative lyrics to famous songs, featuring the people who were leaving the organisation. Amongst these were new versions of "Imagine", "Yesterday" and "Eleanor Rigby".

On one occasion, the department restructure resulted in one senior member of staff being unhappy enough to suddenly leave the organisation, much to the surprise of the remaining staff that morning.

The following are alternative lyrics to the ABBA song "Mamma Mia", documenting that event. My thanks to Gill Slack for agreeing for this more public revival.

She's no' Here

We had meetings arranged at times throughout the day
To discuss how our work matched the new AEGON way.
Then, on the floor, an announcement was
made. To our awe, we were told that we’d lost Gill Slack;
That she’d gone and she won’t be back.
Take one look across the department’s face
Hear a pin drop as our thoughts mount apace
And we go-o:

“She’s no’ here (here we go again)
My my, how could they conceive it?
‘Need a beer (and it’s only 10).
[Deep sigh:] How can we believe it?”
With the years since she started
’Can’t believe she has parted
Why, why would she feel she had to go?
Now we hear, it’s a change of role
Still – why? How could they let her go?

Now some time has gone by and we’re not so bereft
But there’s still disbelief that such a stalwart has left
We wish her well, in her future life
But who can tell what our Gill will do now she’s gone?
You know that her head’s screwed on.
We could guess but we may not get it right
We confess we don’t have perfect insight
So we go-o:

“She’s no’ here (where’s she gone again?)
My my, what could she be doing?
New career, seeking work again;
High fly-ing firms will come a-wooing
Will she revert to coding
Or something less foreboding
Then – why? Why should IT be her goal?
Be of cheer, lots of things to choose
Tie dye, make a fancy T-shirt
Or next year, with her ballroom shoes
Fly by, as a dancing expert”

“She’s no’ here. What could follow then?
Stir fry – master chef a-cursing,
Be a peer, sat beneath Big Ben
Laugh, cry – psychiatric nursing
Yes, these things are permitted
We know Gill’s not dimwitted
Sky dives? There’s no way that she can fall
We’re still here, one more thing we call
Bye bye, all the best from one and all.”

The Heat of the Night

It's nearly January 25th, so in celebration of this special day, I wrote the following.

The Heat of the Night

The dark is shattered – multi-coloured hues
Of light expand, converge and – coalesced –
Bright colours leave your retina impressed; 
A chrysanthemum after-image bruise
Of magnesium white and copper blues;
A chemical rainbow, from base to crest.
A fraction later, deep inside my chest
I feel the booming sound that then ensues.

The same experience each November:
The bangers, rockets, and roman candle.
Isn’t it grand with sparklers to handle?
Watch the pyre for that white hot ember –
The cries of children may not be in glee,
It may be Burns Night, spent in A and E.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My Nan's Cats

The poetic form of the sestet was introduced at a recent Creative Writing class. I wrote the following poem which evolved from a class exercise. The subject relates to the cats that lived in my grandparents house during my childhood.

My Nan's Cats

My Nan’s three house cats behaved in the light,
Spending the day as if each was alone
But sometimes it seemed that deep in the night
Confrontations occurred. The cause? Unknown,
But the clumps of fur we found on the mat
Suggested another failed coup-de-cat.

“Baby”, delusional – thought he was tough –
An adopted stray in ginger and white –
Attempts to take over: met with rebuff;
His fur we found, after he lost a fight.
A chocolate-box puss, adored by my Nan,
Liked eating baked beans straight out of a can.

“Peppy” was ginger and chased silver balls
From sweet papers that my Grandad had rolled.
Not too affectionate, avoided brawls,
He’d approach slowly if he was cajoled.
From his leonine face we’d lift the gloom
By shining reflected light round the room.

“Sparky” was top cat, no doubt about that
And the most sociable, fur dense and grey,
He’d greet you then go, this heat-seeking cat,
Lie by the fire ‘til he charred – daft that way.
You’d start to smell burning as you would expect.
The fur insulated. No ill effect.

Other cats lived there in earlier times:
Peppy’s mum, “Little”, a kind matriarch,
“Come-On” was grumpy, appeared at mealtimes ,
Sparky’s mum, “Sylvia”, gentle and dark,
“Creep” – crumpled and watchful – lurked beneath chairs.
Peppy and Sparky, the last of their heirs.

Monday, 20 January 2014



This is the first post on my new blog. It will probably contain a few poems, an odd bit of writing (although hopefully not too odd), but nothing is written in stone - except runes, I suppose.

Oh, and while I remember, all the poems on this web log are © Steven Green. That's me, folks.