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Collected Poems

Oh —! Oh Hang!

page 162

Oh —! Oh Hang!

'If at the end of a year we have not made worth-while progress I will resign,' said Mr E. R. Cuzens at a recent meeting of the South Canterbury Regional Planning Council. …The chairman (Mr George Dash) said: 'If I am chairman of this body for twelve months, and at the end of that time we have not made progress, I will hang myself.'

There's terrible tidings from down in the South—
The Regional Planners are down in the mouth.
In spite of the work of a score of committees
In drawing up blue prints for backblocks and cities
They're having to swallow the bitterest pill —
The fact that their progress to date has been nil.
So dim is the outlook for Regional Planners
That one of their number (forgetting his manners)
Has threatened (or promised) to string himself up
At the end of twelve months if their bitch doesn't pup.

'Way down in that region, we've always been told,
The virtues of English reserve are extolled;
Their conduct is flawless — they never say worse
Than 'Oh, Dash!' or 'Oh, Hang!' when they're tempted to curse;
They're all for good manners and rigid decorum,
And genteel refinement and highcockalorum.
So here in the North, where we're rather untamed,
The news of George Dash's most desperate threat
Was received with surprise and a tinge of regret.

Now, knowing the way that committees are run
(They'll talk for twelve months, and their work's never done),
Here and now you'll agree it may safely be said
That the fate of G. Dash can be taken as read.
So, folks, we're all set for a beautiful hanging;
The boys in the bar-room are thumping and banging;
They feel, one and all, that your promise was rash,
But they know they can count on your word, Mr Dash.
Don't think you're unpopular, just from that sound —
They'll give you an item — so just hang around.