Sheila and the Honourable Member 3.

This 1977 poem tells the sad story of how a politician began his career burning with high ideals and how and why they gradually eroded. It’s his wife Sheila who is talking.

The story of Jack and the Beanstalk

when the Honourable Member started
he saw visions he saw me
he saw cake on the tables
he saw chickens in pots he imagined
one potato two potato
three potato four

he has been climbing so long
the people shrink like snails
they don’t understand he is nervous
when the clouds pour by

the Honourable Member has fattened
his friends stamp on his fingers
he tells a lie by accident
he wants a law against axes

I am his out-of-focus snail
I am my house and his hose
he will steal the chicken
that cannot be shared
this little pig had roast beef
this little pig had none

Rachel McAlpine 1977


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