The Works Canteen………a poem by Neil William Holland
They’ve closed the works canteen,
replaced it with a vending machine.
Is that mean or what?
Antidisestablishmentarianism, that’s what we’ve got.
The canteen is the church of the people
where views and opinions tower like a steeple
above the mundane drudgery of conveyor belts
and packing cases, lathes and clocked-on faces
all churning and gurning their daily grind.
Never mind, the management say.
Well, we all know if they had their way
longer hours and less pay would be the norm,
and that’s how unions were born
by workers getting together, in canteens!
Workers fed up and at the end of their tether
who stood up to be counted, demanded to be seen
and the very heart of this movement beats in the works canteen.
Well, they’ve closed it
and now a Kit Kat is C4,
a packet of crisps the button before
and already it’s so worn you can’t make it out.
In this day and age no-one gives you nowt
and now you can’t even meet over a cuppa to talk about it.
So excuse me if I don’t wish the boss a Merry Christmas,
he’s unapproachable, distant and aloof
and I for one hope the reindeer miss his roof
but just in case Dear Santa,
give him a sour lemon,
and address the gift tag to Mr Mean.
He’s the Christmas pudding who’s closed the works canteen.