Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Timely Warning

Oh gather round and heed my tale,
Translate it into French and Braille,
And spread the word around the globe
About this chronomentrophobe.
To some I’m really just a melon,
Others see me as a felon,
A curse on our society
To show such impropriety.
But listen good and listen true
Lest my sad fate should come to you,
And learn from how I fell from grace
And ended in this wretched place.

One Sunday morn, as I recall,
When March’s roar began to pall,
‘Twas in the small hours of the night,
I saw a blue and flashing light.
And then began the klaxon’s wail,
Like some demented nightingale.
Now when the moon and stars come creeping
I have little trouble sleeping,
Because my conscience is as clear
As unpolluted atmosphere,
But if a dog, a mile away,
Should break wind in a violent way,
I wake up in a merry sweat
And need to light a cigarette.
So, wide awake within a second,
Fun and games from outside beckoned.
Throwing back the crocheted spread
I clambered quickly from my bed,
And to the curtained window flew
To get a better, grandstand view,
For crime, thank God, is very rare
Along our quiet thoroughfare.
I watched the squad car turn the bend
And make its way toward our end.
I squinted round the curtain’s drop
To see exactly where he’d stop.
Perhaps those lads at fifty four
Were on the wrong side of the law?
Or maybe him at sixty one
Was really someone on the run?
Had those Swedes down at the corner
Got permission for that sauna?
But holy moley, saints alive!
The squad car turned into my drive!

I put on socks and dressing gown
And very sharply hurried down
To answer their insistent knock
At very nearly two o’clock.
The neighbours would be wide awake,
Not knowing this was some mistake.
They must have seen the squad car come
And heard the pandemonium,
And now my name was likely mud
Throughout this genteel neighbourhood.

I pulled the bolt and turned the key
And opened up the door to see
Two burly cops, grim-faced and armed,
Which made me very much alarmed.
One yelled my name, and I said, “Yes?”
And in my state of half-undress,
They pushed me down upon the floor,
As shock ran through my every pore.
I felt as though I might be sick,
On hearing those strong handcuffs click.
There and then I made my mind up
One could see this was no wind-up
(Thoughts which, reader, you will see
Were laced with bitter irony)
They flicked the lights to lift the gloom
In kitchen and in sitting room
And then these swarthy time-police
Took photos of my mantelpiece.
They photographed my microwave
And clock above the architrave,
And laid my wristwatch in full view
And took some pictures of it too.
They read my rights, and when complete,
They hauled me brusquely to my feet
And bundled me into the car,
As neighbours gawped from near and far.

I sit here in my prison cell,
A malcontented ne’er-do-well,
And wonder what ungodly fate
Awaits this surly reprobate.
At first, I’d claimed my innocence,
But knew full well I’d no defence.
The clocks they brought into the court
Exposed my guilt in words and thought.
There really was no need to show
That they were all an hour slow.
And sweet Anne Doyle, from RTE,
Stood on the stand unflinchingly
And told the jury to peruse
The transcripts of the evening news,
In which she’d stated to her flock
That clocks went on at one o’clock

Yes, I’d been warned and paid no heed,
A criminal in thought and deed.
The clocks were changed at one o’clock,
And I admitted from the dock
That though the hour had come and gone,
Oh shame! I’d never wound them on.
So listen ye, who hitherto
Have left the clocks till morning’s dew,
When told to add an hour more,
‘Tis not “advice” – it is the law.
And woe betide the eager loon
Who winds his clocks an hour too soon,
For he may face a fate like me
Within the penitentiary.
I face a future breaking rocks
For daring to ignore those clocks.
Ironic though, that this foul crime
Will mean I end up doing time.

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