New Zealand Listener - - DIVERSIONS - by Gabe Atkin­son

This week’s con­test called for vari­a­tions on the poem A Visit from St Ni­cholas, be­gin­ning with ‘Twas a month after the elec­tion …

A two-verse ef­fort from War­wick El­ley of Rothe­say Bay: ‘Twas a month after the elec­tion, and all through the land/Vot­ers waited for St Win­ston to show us his hand./MPs hung round Par­lia­ment im­pa­tient to hear/Which way the King­maker was go­ing to de­clare./ Would he swing to the left, would he swing to the right?/Would their fu­tures be gloomy, or rosy and bright?/Re­porters peered ea­gerly for clues to a de­ci­sion./But none was re­vealed by this wily tac­ti­cian. At last, after push­ing out dead­lines he’d made/With­out an apol­ogy for his lengthy cha­rade/He ap­peared on our screens, smil­ing broadly like Santa/His eyes twin­kling brightly – this vet­eran en­chanter/An­nounced to the na­tion he’d go with Jacinda,/They’d worked out a deal that he hoped wouldn’t hin­der/His hopes of high of­fice – he’d re­tire recog­nised/As God’s gift to the na­tion, and at last sat­is­fied.

But Ka­iapoi’s Bar­bara Matthews is the

win­ner: ‘Twas a month after the elec­tion, and all through the land/We had nary a gov’ment – not at all what we planned./ And par­ties were meet­ing. And stay­ing tight-lipped./We’d achieve just as much if a coin had been flipped./With MMP’s sanc­tion, those who vot­ers se­lected/

Can still be ma­noeu­vred by those they re­jected./And giv­ing and get­ting in a binge of bu­reau­cracy/Can play merry hell with what we once called democ­racy. For the next chal­lenge, send us a brief poem be­gin­ning with this line from The Mo­ment by Margaret At­wood: The mo­ment when, after many years … En­tries close at noon on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 16.

Sub­mis­sions: wordsworth@lis­tener.co.nz or Wordsworth, NZ Lis­tener, Pri­vate Bag 92512, Welles­ley St, Auckland 1141. Please in­clude your ad­dress.

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