Last night’s ‘Reeling in the Years’ on RTÉ One covered 2010, the year of the big freeze

First in a new 10-part weekly series.

Reeling In The Rhyme.


Austerity Mantra

Everything must be on the table.
Your ninety seven year old granny
is no longer cost effective, would
benefit greatly from being brought face to face
with a compassionate baseball bat.
The figures speak for themselves and will
be worse by morning. The paraplegic
in his insanely expensive wheelchair
will have to crawl as God intended.
Here are the figures that won’t stop
speaking for themselves, this is the table
everything must be on. Yesterday my name was
Temporary Fiscal Adjustment.

Tonight, the insect in the radio calls me
The Inevitable. When the economist
puts his hand up, take care not to cough.
Everything’s on the table and
the table’s tiny. I’d send you a pillow
to hold hard over the child’s face
‘til the kicking stops, but at current rates
there’ll be no pillow. I am the unthinkable
but you will think me. Pack her mouth
with tea towels, hold down firmly
your old mildewed raincoat,
‘til there’s no more breath.

Tomorrow I’ll be known as
Four Year Consolidation Package.
Lock the cat in the oven and bake
at two hundred degrees centigrade.
Tie your last plastic bag over
your own head. The figures speak for themselves
and there is no table.

Kevin Higgins

Austerity Mantra’ appeared in Kevin’s 2014 collection The Ghost In The Lobby (Salmon Poetry)

Reeling in the Years 2020 (RTÉ)

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8 thoughts on “Still Reeling

  1. Dr Pandora Louise Elizabeth Braithwaite

    in the voice of Withnail, shouting from the car

    This isn’t poetry.. it’s just SENTENCES

  2. eoin

    Reeling in the Poopy. When’s Enda Kennys ‘Portillo on trains’ rip off show on, so I can laugh and point? RTE is garbage.

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