John Saunders – The Ballad of the Bailout

John Saunders's profile photoJohn Saunders was born in Co. Wexford, Ireland in 1956 and now lives in Co. Offaly. His first collection ‘After the Accident’ was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Abridged, Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal, the Irish Times, Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry, Poetry Bus and Riposte, and on line; The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, Spinoza Blue, Poetic Diversity, The Linnet’s Wings, In Other Words; Merida, First Literary Review-East and poetry 24.
John is one of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. His second full collection Chance was published in April 2013 by New Binary Press.
He is a founding member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop and a graduate of the Faber Becoming a Poet 2010 course. He was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition.


The Ballad of the Bailout

Time served. Release for good behaviour.
A five year stretch of austerity,
discretionary taxation and expenditure
reductions shuffled and dealt by the Troika.

We prisoners handed in our belongings,
passed over the keys of sovereignty,
small freedoms of self-regulation,
to the Governor and the Commissioner.

We marched the floors of stagnation,
climbed down the stairs of budget adjustments,
were interrogated by Statements of Means,
frisked for any hidden disposable income.

The jailer dished out punishments
for our misbehaviours, Local Property Tax,
Water Charges, Septic Tank Registration,
he took the welfare out of Social Welfare.

With the swipe of a pen he down-sized
Children’s Allowance, Old Age Pensions,
drove up the cost of heating ourselves,
drove out our young and unemployed.

And now we’re near the end and we’ve paid
our dues. Soon we’ll be released,
paroled to start our journey of recovery
on the road to economic prosperity.

We can buy houses at knockdown prices,
borrow money at the lowest rates,
shop in cut price German supermarkets,
holiday at our rain-soaked resorts.

We can light a fire with our burnt offerings,
live out the rest of our debt ridden lives,
hang on to our national governance,
shiver till the bond holders burn.


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