In the First Church of the Socialist Millennium. (RIP)
The First Church of the Socialist Millennium
Was the Blackball Miners’ Hall: where I grew
Up with a Tip Top tub, on Cecile B. De Mille.
And the saints on the wall were black and white
And the saints on the wall were cruel: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, and each one ten foot tall.
The First Wooden Shrine to Socialist Man
Where the thundering rain did fall: where Jaffas
Flew if the shorts got stalled in a Pathe pictorial.
And the saints on the wall could scowl and frown
Till the fiends in the pit did shriek: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, who put us on easy street.
The First Cinema of the Kiwi Bloke to grace
The Marxist table: we knew it was time to yell
“Look out!” when the music warned Clark Gable.
And the saints on the wall could freeze all
Hells the Bosses’ Men had loosed: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, hung the Scabs by a noose.
The First Great Hall of the People by magic could
Also dance: we shone the floor with powder
And sacks, so the dancers could glide like a glance.
And the saints on the wall went green with lust
When whirling sinners swayed: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, libido sublimated.
The First Cathedral of Dancing Proles made
An ancient miner young: if they had no hair
In the Brylcreemed air, their toes were inner sprung.
And the saints on the wall would roll their eyes
And wish for their time again: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, backs to the wall like men.
And the First Round clang of a boxing bell
Would send up rousing cheers: the screen rolled
Back, the ropes in place, bleeding eyes and ears.
And the saints on the wall would long for life
For one more crack at the crown: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, would knock each other down.
And those were the days when workingmen prayed
To a god misunderstood: “if blood be the price
Of your cursed wealth, Good God! We have paid it in full!”
And the saints on the wall came into the hall
And the hall was held in a hush: the projector
Flickered, the orchestra caught the boxer in mid-punch.
And Hickey bowed, and Semple prayed and Webb
He broke the bread: “ Eat the fruits of the Socialist
Church” was the blessing upon our heads.
So every day I sit down to pray in the wreck
Of the Labour Party: I write a script for a film
That ends when the lunatics run the country.
And the saints on the wall look down on me
With a mixture of love and pity: St Hickey,
St Webb and St Semple, and the Miners’ Hall Committee.