Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Hunting of the Snarf (système national pour un autre référendum franglais*)

They sought it with thimbles, they sought its great mission;
   They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a Royal Commission;
   They charmed it with smiles and soap.

"Just the place for a Snarf!" the Prime Minister cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
And supported them all on the strength of his bride
   With her fingers that gripped his great hair.

"Just the place for a Snarf! I have said it twice:
   That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snarf! I have said it thrice:
   What I tell you three times is true."

The crew was complete: it included a Sikh—
   A man who was expert on 'Hoods—
A Barrister, brought in to arrange their first nations—
   To make treaties and guilt understood.

A new-found Rainmaker, whose skill was immense,
   Might have influenced more than his share—
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
   Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a Beaver, who paced on the deck
   And gnawed parts of the wheel for a dam,
That installed on the prow, often saved them from wreck,
   Though none of the crew could say how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
   She forgot when she entered the ship:
Her corporate history, her pipelines of mystery,
   And the ethics she’d bought for the trip.

She had forty two ethics, all carefully packed,
  With her name painted clearly on each:
But, since she omitted to mention the fact,
   They were all left behind on the beach.

There were more crew besides but the time and the tides
   Propelled Snarf-hunting right to the fore,
Which was trapped by the dam that the Beaver had planned
   So they left it and met on the shore.

The Prime Minister said as he stood in his bed:
   "Our Snarf-hunt must have a Commission,
To see promises kept and not furtively swept,
   Beneath carpets of Sins of Omission."

But none was too sure what the promises were,
   To their consternatèd  recollection,
Until they recalled Rideau Hall in the fall,
   'Twas to form a new means of election.

The Commissioners each formed a different view
   Well before terms of reference were read,
And they all spoke at once so that none of them knew
   One word that the others had said.

They considered the means, the whys, whens, and wherefores
   To be newly and fairly elected,
And the means of Australia, New Zealand, and France,
   And Great Britain among those selected.

Australia, some cried with particular pride,
   Has national mandatory voting.
And a Senate elected (thus appointments rejected),
   And gun control laws without gloating.

But New Zealand others said, Mixed Member Prop Rep!
   More than 90 per cent turnout also!
But unfortunately they had elected John Key,
   An NSA lick-spittle bozo.

"But what do we say of the U.S.of A?"
   The Barrister asked in confusion.
"They are neighbours of ours, they have very good bars
   And a famously good Constitution."

"Yes, the writing is grand" said the Beaver whose hands
   Were unrolling the said Constitution.
"But as George Carlin said, it's unfortunately dead,
   And embalmed in the Smithsoniootion"

"We can do no other than consider the Mother
   Of All Parliaments!" the PM declared.
"It used to be good," said the Sikh in the 'Hood,
   "But then it coughed up Tony Blair."

There were those who thought that a Snarf might be sought
   Through Proportional Representation.
But the example they gave  (it was Israel) so grave
  ‘Twas rejected without hesitation.

The discussion went on, and further and further
   Through one hundred and ninety-three nations,
And though each sometimes pleasey, could be just as sleazy
   So concluded in futiliation.

The French were too boozy, the Italians too floozy,
   The Dutch and the Germans too rigid,
The Indians too Chinese, the Chinese too Indian,
   And Scandinavians of course far too frigid.

They sought it with symbols, they sought through thin air;
   They pursued it with storks and dope;
They threatened its life with a Terrorist Scare;
   They charmed it with smiles and soap.

They shuddered to think that the chase might fail,
   And the Beaver, excited at last,
Went bounding along on the tip of its tail,
   For the daylight was nearly past.

"There's Wassername laughing!" the Prime Minister cried,
   "She was laughing like mad till she barfed!"
He looked all around then adjusted his gown,
   "She certainly has found a Snarf!"

They gazed in delight, while the Barrister exclaimed
   "She was always a doubtful appointment."
She was up to her neck—their Heroine unnamed—
    In Unethical Swamped Disappointment.

Erect and sublime, for one moment of time,
   In the next, that wild figure they saw
Sank more in the soup to submerge with a "floop"
   While they waited and listened in awe.

"It's a Snarf!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
   And seemed surely a relief that it be.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
   Then the ominous words "It's a Key—"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
   A weary and wandering sigh,
That sounded like "—stone!" but the others declared
   It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
   Not a button, or feather, or scarf,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
   Where Wassername met with the Snarf.

In the midst of the word she was trying to say,
   In the midst of her laughter and glee,
She had softly and suddenly vanished away—
   For the Snarf was a Keystone, you see.