A Ticket Inspector Calls


Marshalling us on as if we are cattle
On to a cramped carriage commuters battle
For an opportune seat,
A chance to dine and eat
A stale crust from our breakfast or brunch,
Too busy to sit and devour our midday lunch.
Like faded flamingos, we balance on one leg,
our wearsome bodies propped by metal bars beg
For a chance to sit on a tattered chair
Discoloured, dog-eared from wear and tear.
But it will be twenty minutes more
Til you can finally test your sore
Limbs and exhausted mind
As inspectors watch on blind.
They don’t care to see us suffer
As long as we maintain their buffer,
Pay their wages,
Diffuse our rages
As they cancel the train again
On account of a few drops of rain.
Their timetables mean nowt
In their season-long drought.
Understaffed, under-resourced,
On to a bus, plane or car we’re forced
To get to work, get to a gig
As their corporate bosses reward big
Bonuses to those spineless few,
who issue fines to a poor soul or two.
Heartless, emotionless and drained of joy,
Ticketing the down and resolute is their ploy.
Each year down the drain we throw four ton
But would we pay for a car that didn’t run?
We shouldn’t settle for anything less
Than the finest fleet of railway express.
Would we tip a waiter who made us stand all night?
Would you thank an optician that stole your sight?
With their grouchy demeanour and trademark scowl,
They hunt alone, though gangways they prowl.
Keys rattle in their pockets as gruffly they curse,
As the prattle out the same remembered verse.
‘You should have bought it before you got on board’
As they count more pound signs to their burgeoning hoard.
For what right do we have as the humble commuter?
The sucker born ever minute, just a money rerouter.
Is it just a scam?
Just another way to ram
More people on for less?
Or simply just a shambolic mess?
We can’t just strike and refuse to pay,
Cos they know they’re the only way.
It is a catch 22, a service with no face,
No main instigator that we can ever trace


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