The night before Lockdown

The night before Lockdown

by Gawain Towler
article from Thursday 17, December, 2020

‘Twas the night before Lockdown, when all through the house 

Not a citizen stirred, not even a spouse. 

The facemasks were hung by the front door with care, 

In hopes that Tier 2 (at least) soon would be there. 

 

The children were nestled, all fearful in bed, 

While visions of respirators danced in their heads. 

And mamma coughed in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, 

We’d been off to be tested, and wanted a nap. 

 

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 

I sprang from the bed to see what’s the matter. 

Away to the window I flew like a flash, 

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

 

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. 

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, 

But a new SAGE announcement, to increase the fear. 

 

With an odd little shiver, so pink and so fat, 

I knew in a moment it must be St Matt. 

More rabid than mongrels his messengers came, 

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! 

 

"Now, Vallance! now, Whitty! now, Misery ‘n Worry! 

On, Panic! On, Hyperbole! On, Scaremongering! Hurry ! 

To the top of the studios! To the top of Whitehall! 

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" 

 

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 

When they meet with a business, it’ll inevitably die! 

Then off the red-tops the coursers they leaked, 

With the sleigh full of worries, and statistics that peaked. 

 

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the box 

If we visit our family, they’ll all get the pox. 

As I withdrew my head, ‘twas spinning around, 

Down the chimney St Matt came with a bound. 

 

He was dressed all in Top-Shop, to show his humanity, 

And his clothes were shiny with hubris and vanity. 

A bundle of rules he had open to see, 

About bubbles, and tiers and furlough and fees. 

 

His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! 

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 

His wan little mouth was drawn up like a sneer, 

And that’s just how he wished to banish good cheer. 

 

The misery of millions he held in his teeth, 

Sympathy empty, smile like a wreath. 

And those with conditions (not Covid) were barred. 

Attempts to be positive of course they just jarred! 

 

He was chummy and plump, a consummate hack, 

I retched when I saw him, and straightened my back! 

This parasite’d learn that we’re better than peasants, 

That we care for the jobs, the future and the present. 

 

We will do better and we’re going to work, 

On ensuring the future and we ain’t going to shirk. 

It’s time they were told, its time they delivered, 

The things that we need, the things that don’t wither. 

 

That’s freedom, that’s hope, 

That’s a pint in the pub, 

Its joy and good company,  

And friends in the club. 

Its family, its colleagues, and workers, and strangers, 

And the whole private sector, beset now with dangers. 

 

It’s Christmas, it’s time now to gather, 

And woe betide Matt if he fails to deliver. 

 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 

But I heard him exclaim, and it was out of fright, 

"We’ve elections next year, oh shit! Good night!" 

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