Crime & PunishmentThe theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “Crime and Punishment”. Now far be it from me to cast nasturtiums but, Jon didn’t do the show today (the ringmaster duties fell to Dr Pump) and I am left wondering if there isn’t some connection between the choice of theme and Jon’s absence.

I am sure there is an alcoholic explanation somewhere.

Click here for today’s poem [audio:JVG_Poem20090329.mp3]

Today we have Ed Bates back in the guitar chair, playing appropriately themed backings, although I am sure that I heard “Taste Of Honey” in there.

Crime and Punishment

A felon at the age of four
I admit some ignorance of the law
Seduced by matches I had found
I torched the local football ground

My best mate Leo tagged along
An experiment that went terribly wrong
“Just a tiny fire” that’s what we said
“We’d stamp it out before it spread”

The plan, no doubt, would have worked a treat
Except Leo and I both had bare feet
A frantic wave and a frenzied yell
Then we turned on our heels and we ran like hell

There could be trouble – I had a sense
But it was, after all, my first offence
Apart from minor recalcitrance

Like burying my sister and shaving the cat
Belting my cousin with a cricket bat
Playing hospital tiggy – But let’s not talk about that

Okay, I admit to a long list of priors
But none involving matches or fires

Had judgement rested with my peers
The sentence would have surely been less severe
But tried by parents and fire brigade chief
The verdict as harsh as the trial was brief

Six months! Not the belt or a reprimand
Six months! Barred from watching Disneyland
Toys confiscated – and Leo was banned
Appeal dismissed out of hand

My plea for mercy fell on deaf ears
Mum explained calmly, ignoring my tears
“Do the crime, Do the time – No point crying just cop the fine”

While I thought the punishment a little tough
In my heart I knew it was “Fair enough”

Decades on and I’m still learning
This time the economy’s burning
This could never happen with globalisation
Free market forces, self regulation

“There are safeguards in place” the experts would say
This could never happen – but it happened anyway

Flames fanned by panic spread border to border
Governments scramble to get their houses in order
The foundations rotted by unabashed greed
It’s not just repairs, but a new house we need

What of the architects, the industry heads
Do they feel the heat in their soft feather beds?
Or business as usual, batten the hatches
Deny liability though caught with the matches

No reticence, contrition or acceptance of onus
Too busy clambering to shore up their bonus
“Do the crime, Do the time? – Bugger that – blame sub-prime”
Stuff you’s all – We’re doing fine
Someone else can walk the line”

Ponder their legacy as you queue for the dole
Self regulation doesn’t mean self control
Had my mother preached self regulation
We’d have no meltdown – I’d have torched the whole nation

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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