Sonnet: Us and them

They’ve given all our money to the banks
Who take the bonuses but not the blame;
They’ve added tens of thousands to the ranks
Of unemployed without a hint of shame.
They’ve dragged us into one unwanted war
After another, claiming every time
To be the bringers of the rule of law,
As if expenses fraud is not a crime.
And now they want to slap me with a fine
If I am caught with my dog off his lead.
There’s precious little left I can call mine;
My wants are few; this much alone I need.
We’re all in this together, so they say;
From where I stand, it doesn’t look that way.


Our town council is proposing new bye-laws that would force dogs to be on leads at ALL times on ALL council-owned land, including the woods I’ve frequently written about here. As a responsible owner, I absolutely agree that fouling is a public nuisance and utterly unacceptable: that’s why we ALWAYS pick up after The Hunting Dog. I also believe it’s a problem caused (as is so often the case) by a small, thoughtless minority, and that these rules won’t change their behaviour. The council clearly isn’t enforcing its existing anti-fouling laws, so quite how it’ll enforce these new ones – and at what cost – is anyone’s guess. I know this is an unusual choice of form for a protest, but what’s a sonnet if not the expresion of life’s great emotions and passions? Rant over. N.

12 thoughts on “Sonnet: Us and them

    • Thank you John – whippets aren’t great on the lead, it has to be said; and while he doesn’t need a lot of exercise, a dog capable of running at 35 mph does need to stretch his legs every day! I don’t know if the council thought they could sneak this one through without a fight, but they’re going to get one: half the town’s up in arms (or should that be paws?) and I gather the council offices and phones have been besieged all day. I guess the title of my ‘rant’ says it all: it’s just a further example of how the rich and powerful seem to walk away from the most egregious offences, while the rest of us have basic freedoms eroded by more rules and regulations, with the smallest transgression able to blight our lives and prospects irredeemably. The fight goes on! N.

  1. Yes! Nick. Yes! I had a conversation with my brother the other day. He likes the flat tax and a number of other benefits that end up accruing to the bankers, but he does not seem to understand that they get us not with taxes, but with the money they accumulate that ends up in too few pockets, increases risk (have they never heard of chaos theory or cybernetics?) to the society–especially those poorer than the rich, and decreases competition, allowing them to gouge consumers, all the time trumpeting that their tax rate is too high. It is in the small things that they degrade our lives, all the time telling us it is for our benefit they are doing them. Arouse the town! The rights of canine owners are at risk! Arouse the town!

    • Ah, revolt is in the air, my friend; the petitions are going round, there are knots of outraged dog-owners gathering in the parks, and the council’s name is mud everywhere. My 10-year-old daughter hand-delivered a letter of protest to the mayor last night, and I gather that the council’s Inbox is stuffed with incandescent emails. We Brits are slow to anger, as a rule, but once roused, our wrath can be awesome to behold. The spirits of Wat Tyler, Tom Paine and Magna Carta live on here, at least! N.

    • Thank you David – I haven’t read the poems you mention; any recommendations? Can’t say I’m surprised to learn that he wrote angry sonnets, though; he had previous on villanelles, after all!

      To the barricades, citizens!!


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