Poets, wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1821, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world".
"You would say that," legislators have harrumphed ever since. "You're a bloody poet. Why don't you get a real job? And what kind of a name is Percy?"
Still, politicians and verse unquestionably remain intimate bedfellows. Dog-eared, tear-stained screeds of torment and glory and misunderstood genius are to be found in the archives of pretty much every political giant, according to insiders.
Most recently in New Zealand, the tellingly alliterative outgoing and outgoing leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, was reported to be a bit of a bard. The man, this much is clear, has lyric in his soul.
Anyway, with apologies to pretty much everyone, here is a selection of stanzas stolen from under the mattresses of New Zealand politicians. (Obligatory note to lawyers and online commenters: they are not stolen, I made them up. Mostly.)
by Colin Craig
There is only one of me it's true
But I wish instead of one man, I was two
Or three, or four, any number would do
Together we'd make such a hullabaloo
We'd fill the board vacancies, tickety-boo
Because everyone loves a Conservative Coup
Even if no one knows who's couping who
I hear it's outrating True Detective 2
I'd love to stay and poem with you
But there's several more interviews I've got to do.
The Last Labour Government
by John Key
When Murray and Hmood al-Ali al-Khalaf took the farm
The gulf trade deal made their bed
And baadle-oodle-aadle-ordle-doodle, the suspiciously magpie-toned, air-freighted pregnant ewes said.
Year in, year out, the failure to restore live exports saw attention
Turn to facilitation payments instead
And to be honest this is no place for a farm, the few lambs that hadn't yet died there said.
The farm's still there
The foreign minister couldn't make it bloody well go away
And quardle-oodle this is clearly the fault of the last Labour government, the hardworking Kiwis say.
Sonnet to John
by Bill English
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
No. And I'll tell you why.
1.1 Thee is a human being and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the elected leader of the largest party in government, the National Party.
1.2 A summer's day is a unit of 24 hours, typically understood to last from one midnight to the next, occurring in summer, the warmest of the seasons, typically understood in New Zealand to span the months December, January and February.
2.1 In conclusion, there is no utility in comparing thee to a summer's day.
This Be the Worst
by Murray McCully
They flock you up, your Saudi friends
They may not mean to but they sue
They bork the agribusiness hub
And spray the fallout over ewe.
by Winston Peters
Winston! Winston! burning bright
In the forests of the night, with the greatest respect.
I will not cease from mental fight, and frankly it's ridiculous that anyone would suggest otherwise.
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, and if you pay attention for a minute you'll see that's demonstrably the case.
by Len Brown
A bitter cold chills
Auckland's heart. My heart. But it
is colder down south.
Chilled out entertainer
by John Key
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy
Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair.
by Judith Collins
Roses are red, but covered in pricks
Roses are thus like the Labour caucus
Labour is red, and National is too
So if you want blue then you know what to do.
by David Cunliffe
For one short year or two
I suckled you
with potent milk
of truth and learning
You know my strength, you know my weakness. They are in you
for I am Labour
And I am yours
by Metiria and James
To the barricades, fighting for solar
And for bears and for caps that are polar
But we don't all agree
Will cure the world of ebola
by Nick Smith
Here's a house, here's a door.
Windows: one, two, three, four. You should really get those fixed.
Ready to knock? Turn the lock!
Jemima doesn't look well.
Oh god, here's Manu, she looks cross, kia ora Manu!
Bloody hell here comes Brook Sabin.