Ann Drysdale: The Joy Of X

I must go down to the polls again, to the Evangelical Hall
And all the usual rigmarole in the rickety wooden stall.
To the row of beady-eyed women with the separate jobs to do,
The ticking-off and the tearing-off and handing the blank to you.

I must go down to the polls again, to the pencil on a string
And the careful kiss in the special box that doesn’t change a thing
And the sucking of teeth and the half-belief that just this once it might
And the hollow laugh as I fold it in half, hoping I got it right.

I must go down to the polls again, to make my usual mark
Though my heart sinks and my head thinks “Oh, bugger this for a lark”.
But down I’ll go and the flag I’ll show as a citizen of the realm
And all I ask is a tight ship and an honest man at the helm.