Humor Poetry posted May 28, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
A cruel parody

How they Brought the Virus ...

by Pantygynt

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

How they Brought the Virus to Gateshead from Kent and Back Again
(A monologue in the Stanley Holloway tradition, with apologies to Robert Browning)

Now here’s a right turnup! From Boris, broke free;
along with his wife, in his Disco drove he;
‘Don’t speed!' cried the wife, as escaping they flew
‘Speed?’ echoed Dom’nic ‘We’ve got to get through
the length of old England, ‘In Durham we’ll rest.
Hang onto your hat, love, I’m not at me best.’

Without social distancing, both held their place,
side by side, what the heck! ’Twere a bloody disgrace!
for two fifty miles they drove on through the night,
against all the guidelines (he knew it weren’t right).
Rebuckled his seat belt, (they’d stopped for a bit,
when nature had called and they needed a shit.)

This loon set out starting, eight thirty from here.
It were dark by the time Luton airport drew near.
Turned off the M1 onto A1(M), see,
And Durham, by midnight’s where they’d hoped to be,
then from the cathedral they’d hear midnight chime.
Mary said ‘Are we there yet? You’ve not made good time!’

The junction for Bedale, passed – ’twas fifty-one.
Topped up at Scotch Corner, their diesel all done.
They stared through the mist as the Yorkshire Dales passed,
and moorland gleamed damply in’t headlamps at last,
but somewhere along the route they’d lost their way.
They shouldn’t have driven. The guidelines said ‘Stay!’
For he had the virus and e’er he drove back,
with a tissue of half truths to cover his track,
he’d spread it about, must have led folks a dance.
Even Boris, his master, looked at him askance!
But lent him his garden, to compose, anon,
his reasons in writing why he should hang on.

They’d stay with his feyther and mother so her
could look after their grandchild, but we can’t concur
that that were the reason. ’Twas nowt but a wheeze
to get out of London to do as you please.
You should have known better. You’ve no one to thank
but yourself, this furore. Your story it stank.
But before he drove back he went testing his eye
upto Castle Barnard for a pint and a pie
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
He knew they were lost, how the public would chaff
They must have passed by Durham town in the night
They had quite overshot it. That’s Gateshead in sight!’

‘How they'll greet us in Gateshead, from London I own!
when we tells ’em we’ve brought Covid virus millstone
to hang round their necks, a most terrible weight
I knew I should not have let you navigate.
I’m coughing and aching, me lungs full of phlegm,
and soon accusations will come from all them.

‘I really don’t know if I can see at all,
to go driving back south is one hell of a call,
I can’t be the story. I must not appear.
It will have to be you that’s the guilty one here.
We’re in this together, you knew where you stood;
you must take the blame; I’m the great and the good.

And all they recalled was the press flocking round
with cruel accusations. They’d broken
And no voice is praising, the papers all whine,
with boos and slow handclaps and calls to resign,
And one of them stated, with common assent,
‘They’ve brought bloody virus from Gateshead to Kent!’ 



This is a parody of the narrative poem by Robert Browning 'How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix'. In reality there was no news, good or bad and Browning only wrote in order to flex his anapestic muscles.

I apologise if this does not make much sense to those outside the UK but recently the Chief adviser to our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, burst the Covid-19 Guidelines wide open by driving 250 miles, while displaying symptoms of the virus, with his wife and child, from London (which is just north-west of Kent to Durham, which is a few miles north of Durham, for 'child care reasons'. During his stay they drove a further 60 mile round trip to Barnard Castle (30 miles south west of Durham) to 'see if I could see well enough to drive back to London' (is there a non sequitur hiding somewhere in this statement?) thus committing an offence in that he knowingly drove on the public road while suffering defective vision.

This junketing caused an outcry in the press but the man refuses to resign and Boris does not seem prepared to sack him.

I felt this called for a bit of humorous versification. The challenge I set myself was to keep the rhyming sounds as close to the original as possible. The original poem can be found via this link:

No Land Rover Discoveries were damaged in the making of this poem.
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