While the old folks die

The U.K. has experienced the highest number of Coronavirus deaths in Europe and a quarter of known coronavirus deaths in Great Britain have happened in care homes but there is still a view we should ‘back Boris’ and not ask awkward questions. It reminded me of Kipling’s poem ‘the Smugglers’ with its refrain, ‘Watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by.’


IF you wake at midnight, a’ sweating at the count

Please don’t blame our leader, should the death toll mount,

Them that don’t ask questions won’t be told a lie.

Back to sleep my darling, while the old folk die.


Don’t go asking questions, 

Best stay in the dark – 

There are daily briefings, questions no one asks

Clapping for the nurses; rules for you and I,

Bite your tongue my darling while the old folk die! 


If you make comparisons and you chance to find 

Evidence that’s mounting up and preying on your mind,

Don’t you shout to come and look, or use it for your play.

Carefully place a lid on it so all’s forgot next day.


If you see the stable-door setting open wide;

If you see an argument crudely brushed aside

If you see the minister’s cut about and tore;

If the questions are too tough – don’t you ask no more ! 


If you meet apologists sharing what they’ve read,

You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.

If they call you ” pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,

Better you just back away and think of giving in. 


If you see an empty bench  – division lobbies dark –

If parliament behaves itself and house-dogs will not bark.

Sir Keir is there, but none to hear, so see how dumb they lie

They don’t fret or holler out when the old folks die ! 


‘If you do as you’ve been told, ‘maybe there’s a chance,

They will get you back to work, or picking fruit perchance,

You’ll get to see a relative or play a game of golf

They’ll let you have a cleaner in; but keep your granny out.


Five and twenty briefings, 

Still we’re in the dark – 

Swerve the awkward questions, silence awkward folk

Them that don’t ask questions isn’t told a lie – 

Bite your tongue my darling while the old folks die!

Four and twenty Londoners crammed in a Pie

Workers in U.K. have been advised to get back to work if they can’t work at home but to avoid public transport; contradictory advice if you live or work in a big city like London, so the result has been predictable, packed tubes and buses.

Sing a song of sixpence

Whose scared to die?

Four and twenty Londoners

Crammed in a Pie.


When the pie was opened

They all began to sing—

It’s the perfect petri dish

To catch a virus in.


The king is in his counting house

Disinfecting money,

The queen avoids the London bus

Though she needs some honey.


The maid is on the underground

Covering up her face

Along comes the virus

She’s another case.


Sing a song of sixpence,

Who wants to die?

Four and twenty Londoners

Baked in a pie.


When the pie is opened

They all begin to sing—

Isn’t that a dainty dish

To set before the king?