Ode To A Virus

Jem Tovey

Corona doesn’t care if you’re atheist or Anglican,
Whether you’re a Buddhist or have visited the Vatican.
This pathogen’s not fussy, there’s no discernment in a virus,
Not bothered who you vote for or that you don’t like Miley Cyrus.

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Just A Little Black Number

Jem Tovey

Let’s distract from all those stories of manipulating the press
And replace them with the headline “Woman Wears A Dress!”
Don’t dare display a shoulder, it looks common and cheap,
But it’s OK to use the front bench, to catch up on your sleep.

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Art for Art’s Sake

Jem Tovey

All that art and culture’s not for the likes of us,
We’re listening to rap not Puccini on the Clapham omnibus.
Lacking the kudos of a private education,
We’re all posting on Facebook at the railway station.

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A Game Of Two Halves

Jem Tovey

You don’t need to drink from puddles to thirst for fresh, clean water,
You don’t have to suffer homelessness to value bricks and mortar.
You must experience bondage to free yourself from slavery,
You must learn to hate addiction to truly love sobriety.

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A Letter To My Future Self

Jem Tovey

In Biblical terms three score and ten, is our allotted span.
Six decades gone already, so I have just one more to plan.
I often write to do lists, but this time perhaps I won’t.
Risking negativity, I think I’ll write a list of don’ts.

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The Love of My Life

Jem Tovey

With apologies to Elizabeth Barratt Browning,
I’ve discovered the antidote to sadness and frowning.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,
You’re in my heart eternally, this is not a passing phase. Continue reading “The Love of My Life”

First World Problems

by Jem Tovey

This poem was a written as a parody of Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (itself a satire of how the broadcast media controls and subjugates Black America) and re-imagines it from a white, middle-class perspective:

You will not be able to turn on, log in and shop online at Waitrose, brother.
You will not be able to order that Little Black Number from ASOS, for your mother.
You will not be able to browse Laithwaites for vintage Bordeaux by the case,
Honestly, the broadband here’s an absolute disgrace.

You can’t post photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter,
Download speeds are glacial, it’s hard not to be bitter.
You can’t watch clips of Trump waxing braggadocious,
I swear this broadband connection’s simply atrocious.

There will be no mpegs of amusing RTAs,
No footage of Woodstock – Hendrix playing Purple Haze.
No GIFs, no Vines, YouTube’s always buffering,
This broadband’s providing a whole new level of suffering.

The revolution will not be on iPlayer, my connection’s too unstable.
This is the 21st century, where’s my fibre optic cable?
I’ve asked Virgin for an installation date, but they just keep on stalling.
We barely reach two megabits, this broadband is appalling.

O Little Town of Batleyhem

Jem Tovey

Written for and read at the Batley Community Choir Christmas Concert 19/12/18

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the town
Not a resident of Batley, was wearing a frown.
A small Yorkshire town, right proud of its past;
Where wool and its weaving meant that we grew up fast.

Continue reading “O Little Town of Batleyhem”