"When Stephen Put The Blue Box Out"

The office of Elizabeth May received a poem from a supporter this month.

It is true he waited long
For a majority so strong
That he now can rule the country as he will
Every piece of legislation
He has fancied for the nation
Can be easily enacted bill by bill

He can ram them through with ease
Whether they offend or please
With no reckless coalition to oppose
They can protest they can clamber
They can even have a jammer
They can take it down the throat or up the nose

It’s a good time for reflection
Three short weeks since his election
But there were so many things to put in place
With the cabinet appointed
And new senators anointed
He really does desire a change of pace

It is Friday afternoon
And it hasn’t come too soon
He’s had his last appointment of the day
Feeling very much alive
He’ll walk home to Sussex Drive
And perhaps he’ll meet some neighbors on the way

From that political midden
Where he usually is hidden
To emerge for only scripted photo ops
He desires to amble freely
So that he can feel he’s really
Like any guy, with no need for the props

And returning here at last
Are some freedoms of his past
A joy he hasn’t felt for many years
Just an ordinary guy
He is ready to say hi
To each and every one, his common peers

And as he wanders by
He observes that common guy
Doing ordinary things about his place
And there’s nothing more that he
Would surely like to be
Than that basic member of the human race
 
Now at last he’s at the door
Of that fabled twenty four
Where inside he’s king to all down to a mouse

To the staff he does decree
That in future he will be
A very ordinary man about this house

He will now participate
While he lives on this estate
In fundamental jobs, and household chores
He will join the servile crew
He will do as others do
Those menial tasks inside and out of doors
 
His request is met with awe
But he can lay down the law
Even if past practice must be bent
They must find him things to do
And if not they’ll surely rue
Their failure for he is omnipotent

To produce some useful task
The head servants’ forced to ask
For a listing of his skills that do apply
This leads him to insist
He’s a trained economist
And can make a Windsor knot in any tie
 
He can hammer he can glue
He’s replaced a bulb or two
He can drive into the ground a long tent peg
And also he is able
To fix a shaky table
With some folded paper underneath the leg

Now there’s sudden consternation
With the man who runs the nation
For there’s really nothing useful he can do
A new job they must invent
And a message then is sent
To the foreman of the household maintenance crew

There’s discretionary queries
There’s suggestions there are theories
There are emails texts and fax that fly about
Till that bureaucratic huddle
Resolve their late night muddle
And suggest that he could, take the garbage out.

When this news to him is brought
He is at first distraught
For it does not seem to fit right in his plan
But later he concedes
That these are the sort of deeds
That will mark him as an ordinary man

He is ready to begin
Asking where’s the garbage bin
Dressed in sweat pants working duds, so very right
But the task is put on hold
When he must be gently told
That he cannot put it out till Sunday night

There is still one other snag
For the PM’s garbage bag
They don’t use curbside pickup, although it’s free
Staff examines the whole lot
And compact it on the spot
For disposal in a safe facility
 
Otherwise you can’t be sure
That the garbage is secure
And no detail of your life can dribble out
That persona so well managed
Could so easily be damaged
If the public knew what’s used to wash his mouth

But the problems set aside
If some garbage is supplied
That’s generic non descript and very bland
Two days is long enough
To assemble all the stuff
To deliver it and have it close to hand
 
As the weekend passes by
He tries to be that common guy
And searches through the house for things to do
He straightens up some books
Arranges furniture in nooks
And has replaced a worn out lace in one old shoe

Interruptions they are steady
And he must be on the ready
For a stream of callers eager to hob knob
Some minister in crisis
Who can’t use some shrewd devices
To leave him undisturbed and at his job
 
Now at last it’s Sunday night
And there still is lots of light
He is given some directions, a short blurb
So that now he’s fully ready
With determination steady
To convey the prepared garbage to the curb
 
There are bags and there are bins
Some contain yard waste some tins
It’s a job that does require much more than talk
Talk has got him reelected
But for this job he’s expected
To now gather up the stuff and walk the walk

First the bags they weigh a ton
He conveys them one by one
And it does require four trips to get them out
The green bin he rolls out next
But by now he’s getting vexed
And unparliamentary words escape his mouth

He concludes with the blue box
God it must be full of rocks
He is puffing as he drops it on the ground
He then pauses for a minute
To see what the hell is in it
After which he takes a rest and looks around
 
Looking up and down the street
Everything is clean and neat
Not another bag or blue box in his sight
Can he be the only one
Who is having all this fun
Something tells him deep inside it isn’t right

Why should he be the lead
On this altruistic deed
Why should he be attempting such a thing
When it comes to the environment
He feels no such requirement
To be a hero for recycling

The Embassy of France next door
Has wine bottles by the score
He saw the crates go in the other day
The South African Commission
Could be a leader in this mission
There across the street at Sussex and McKay

With the question still unsettled
And feeling somewhat nettled
Hes finished hauling out there is no more
But returning to his manse
An unintended upward glance
Shows young eyes watching from the second floor

There’ll be questions yes there will
And he feels his thoughts go still
What is all of his activity about?
The bags and bin he can explain
But he feels a mental pain
As to why on earth he put the blue box out

It feels like superstition
But he cant take that position
Perhaps they’d see his mind a little bent
A worthy explanation
As he just convinced the nation
Requires an economic argument

The fundamental key
To human activity
Is simple when you do apply the test
Even if your points insane
But you show financial gain
All other arguments are laid to rest

A sudden thought comes to his mind
A little gem a precious find
A statistic that is just one of a billion
That recycling win-win
And this city he lives in
Has from it returned a profit in the millions

At this thought he feels relived
And no longer is he peeved
For his answer can be honest clean and straight
He could easily snow a nation
With baffle gab and obfuscation
But this circumstance requires a different slate
 
Without request or interjection
He expects a second question
A situation that he’s used to on the Hill
And although the evenings late
He knows he must anticipate
That the second question be the bitter pill

It’s a macro explanation
Does it have an application
To all the kind of items in the box
He is certain that the tin
Will bring more money in
Than the sure to be a loser tetra pack

If they’re not a profit maker
They are just a space uptaker
And the economic rule does not apply
Why not put them in the bags
With the kitchen scraps and rags
Incineration will transfer them to the sky
 
This economic answers right
But he feels a little bite
Perhaps his thoughts he needs to rearrange
From somewhere they were sleeping
Thoughts of greenhouse gas comes creeping
And all that nonsense stuff of climate change

Could the question be deflected?
To a minister selected
Who could weave or dodge or duck or vacillate
But he did not have that option
Or the means of its adoption
He needs a new approach before it’s late

A new slogan theme or rant
A new ra ra a new chant
That will resonate and stand the test of time

But in spite of heavy thinking
His only thought or inkling
Is a rework that will say “get tough on grime”
 
Suddenly there is a light
And a brilliant new insight
In an aspect which is clear and also true
There is no need for lies
For its right before your eyes
The box that is the problem is Tory blue

It does not matter what is in
Any bag or box or bin
The final value of it all can be unclear
It’s the wrapping that’s the trick
Especially when put on thick
After that there’s really nothing left to hear

Yet there’s something unresolved
An item small but quite involved
Did he accomplish what he set to do
Did he carry out his plan
As an ordinary man
Not just in noble deed but spirit too

For there is very much ado
About that special box that’s blue
Besides its contents and it’s putting out
There’s the statement which is sent
Of that common mans intent
In words that come from actions, not the mouth

Though he recycles all this stuff
He is sure it’s not enough
To solve a problem where he has so little say
But he gladly does his bit
Then he lets the matter sit
Hoping those elected leaders show the way

Alas that leadership is blind
With a frozen state of mind
Incapable of grasping something new
To what that common man aspires
In his deepest hearths desires
As he carries out the box that’s colored blue

                                                                                                                Patrick Keogh
                                                                                                                Burnaby
                                                                                                                June 2011