THE MINISTRY OF POETRY
by
Ronnie Barker
 Good evening. May I say at once, without further ado,
How nice it is to speak to each and every one of you.
No matter where you all may be, on land or sea or foam,
Whether climbing up Mount Everest or kicking about at home,
I broadcast to you all tonight, on BBC TV
To tell you of the creation of a brand new Ministry.

( Ronnie Barker puts on big floppy black hat.)

'Here, just a mo' I hear you cry - now what's all this about?
'A Minister of Poetry?' 'Good God, who let him out?'
It's Margaret Thatcher's brainchild, this - our venerable prime Missis.
I'll tell you, if you'll all pin back your aural orifices.

Last Friday week I left the House of Commons just on eight
The wife was out at Bingo, so I knew that she'd be late.
I popped into the local -I was feeling rather frail -
And there stood Maggie Thatcher with her foot upon the rail.

'What you having, Jack?' she cried, her beady eyes aflame 
'I'll have a pint of Mild' I said, she said, 'I'll have the same.'
Well, seventeen pints later - God, how that girl can booze!
We sat on the Embankment and she came out with the news.

'For many years,' she mumbled, as she munched the crisps I bought her,
Tidily folding up the bag and chucking it in the water,
'For many years I've longed to see this ancient land of ours
Return to former glories - and the pubs to longer hours.

Those grand old days of Shakespeare when the folk all spoke in rhyme,
And the language wasn't full of swear words, all the bleedin' time.
How nice it must have been to hear a lilting line that lingers,
When the worker to the foreman gave two verses, not two fingers.

If we could re-create the old-world charm of this great nation,
The voters would forget the shrinking pound, ignore inflation.
'And you're the man, dear Jack,' she said 'who can that promise keep.
Romance is not yet dead!' With that, she burped, and fell asleep.

I covered her with newspaper and left her on the grass
Looking every inch a lady and completely upper-class,
In a powder-blue ensemble with her hair all freshly done,
And across her chest, another chest, from page three of The Sun.

And that is how the Ministry was created overnight.
And now it's up to you, my friends, to see you do it right. 
Pray, have no fear, the task is not as hard as it may sound 
For inside every Englishman, good English rhymes abound, 

And each of you has, at some time, I'm sure (as haven't we all?)
Inscribed a simple stanza on some by-gone wash-house wall. 
So off you go and don't forget, just like the old graffiti 
Keep it short, and keep it snappy, keep it fruity, keep it meaty. 

Just think of all the joy you'll cause when on a bus you leap,
At dawn, one chilly morning, when the world's still half asleep. 
'A single fare - to Euston Square.' you warble to the driver. 
'The cost to me is 20p' and offer him a fiver.

As he looks for four pounds eighty change, what gay thoughts fill his head-
With any luck he'll hand you out a fourpenny one instead. 
The world can be a better place, if each man does his best 
To choose his rhymes to match the times, so get it off your chest! 

Beneath the old stiff upper lip the ancient fire still flickers-
Come, fan the flames, and let us get the lead out of our knickers. 
Press onward, England, do your best - revive our former glories -
Let's raise our beers and give three cheers. Goodnight and up the Tories. 
The end