LEADERS - not followers

Saturday, December 6, 2008


For sunday scribblings 140 - Traditon


Morning routine; tyre check, front and back
Hand on saddle, testing brakes and bell
Ray mounts bike and cycles off to work
Nodding to the milkman, paperboy

Donkey jacket, football scarf and cap
Padded gloves, to combat winter cold
Town Hall clock-tower bells announce the time
‘A quarter past the hour’ sings their chime

Watchman rolls another cigarette
Strikes a match, sucks smoke to lungs, exhales
Stands, salutes, in greeting to his friend
Ray dismounts, returns salute, and smiles

‘As you were; stand easy’ orders Ray
Servicemen’s traditions never die
Active role in Cyprus, both – respect
To friendship formed in Turkish-Greek divide

Clock-on seven-twenty, on the dot
Never varies; card could testify
Ever-present; never missed a day
In twenty four long years of tradesman’s toil

In six short months, that Gold Watch will be his
Counting days and blessings till that time
First things first, though; breakfast – time to eat
A less than tasty, vending-machine treat

Microwave to heat it; cup of tea
Most important meal of every day
Smoke a cigarette, read tabloid news
Eight o’clock and time to start the shift

Yellow clipboard; ‘Things To Do Today’
(Or tasks to delegate to someone else)
Appearing busy; time-perfected art
Semi-skilled, but fully versed in ‘Skive’

Keep that clipboard close, with pen in hand
Pre-empt problems, prepare proactive plan
Impress the supervisor; management
Build a reputation based on bluff

Talk technical to draughtsmen, engineers
Ask questions; make suggestions; take your time
Don’t try to remember; write it down
Justifies a tea-break; cigarette

Call time-out; a meeting to discuss
Productivity improvement scheme
Type-out minutes; copy; distribute
Cigarette in mouth tea-cup in hand

Afternoon; stock-levels running low
Visit stores with requisition note
Shipping order; one more cigarette
Another cup of tea, to pass the time

Four o’clock; day’s done, and not much else
Ray knows that, but bosses unaware
Trusty yellow clipboard; testament
Flatters to deceive; boosts weekly wage

Shirking-class tradition reaps reward
‘Ray Mc Cann – Employee of the Month’
Overcome with gratitude, he speaks
‘Job’s a good’n…that’ll do for me’


  1. Travesty or not, an agile portrait in quick strokes, tick-tock of tea and cigarettes.

  2. I enjoyed the rhythm of that and the semi-rhymes. As for the shirking-classes! Well, you should know!

  3. Thanks to:
    Anthony North; Easy to look busy - doing nothing.
    Murat11; Characters - what keeps a workforce happy.
    Rinkly Rimes; And I do - they taught me everything I know!!

  4. great daily tradition...love the tea break :)

  5. Very descriptive I can see them at work Takes me right back to the time I worked at a garage. The mechanics there were still there when I visited 3 years ago. Non of their traditions had changed.

  6. Thanks to:
    *sis*; there's one, or more like him in every workplace.
    Marja; Work to live, not live to work.

  7. daily tradition of common people. very observant of you :-)

  8. A wonderful poem. Love the unique use of the theme.

  9. Very funny. I'm not one of those, but I know of those.

  10. Thanks to:
    Totomai; A tradition that goes back a long way.
    Laura Jayne; The practice is not that unique.
    Patois; I think we all know of them.

  11. Hi Stan, I've worked in places just like that years ago. It makes you wonder where the post-production society really started. I remember one place at Broadheath (now trendy canalside apartments) where if city or United were playing away on a wednesday night, either the red half or the blue half of the factory would go sick at lunchtime.
    Nicely written!

  12. It's based on 2 or 3 people I worked with.