The Minister Of Crying Over Spilt Milk by David Bateman
 
The minister of crying over spilt milk
has been sacked again,
for reasons we have already forgotten.
Perhaps this one did his job a little too well,
for even as we stabbed him in the back,
we knew how deeply we would mourn his passing.
A whole night of pints and whiskies
would not dilute our acid tears.
 
That night we remembered his speeches
with their bittersweet poignancy,
drank with him in the chamber bar
for what might be the last time,
mourned with him for his lost childhood
and all the stupid, wasted years,
railed with him against the ever-growing knowledge
of all of humankind
and pined for the purity of ignorance
knowing how once it is lost
it can never be regained.
 
For it was he who had inspired us
in our longing to go back somehow
to that golden age we’d thrown away
not knowing it was there.
And it was he who had us twisting ourselves
in knots as we looked back at the past,
at the opportunities never grasped
and all the chances long since lost.
 
Who now would lead the tears
of our great nation?
Who now could provide
such a sweet addictive substitute
for good sense?
Governments will surely stumble as ever
from one disaster to the next,
and who now will orchestrate
our sad wisdom in hindsight
and amidst it, the bitter irony
the crying shame
that nothing is ever really learned,
that we will always carry on
making mistakes just like this?
 
It’s a thankless task
it’s a poisoned chalice
it’s a breathing-mix of raw onions, freshly sliced.
He held it with dignity
and such sweet sorrow,
and we shall not see his like again.