Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mexican Swine Flu

Those Mexican pigs have been sneezing
And causing some far-reaching issues.
Their manners are somewhat displeasing –
You’d think that they’d learn to use tissues.

Their germs have been caught on the breezes
That waft from the Mexican shore,
So the germs thus contained in their sneezes
Will spread round the world evermore.

On booking a flight to Oslo with Ryanair

Today, with rare and dext’rous flair,
I booked a flight with Ryanair,
The airline that the lower classes
Seem to flock to in their masses,
Forgoing comfort, passenger care
And dinner, for a bargain fare.
This airline has for destinations
Towns in European nations
That the other airlines do
Not feel it worthwhile flying to.
And thus, as I had to attend
A conf’rence on this IPod trend
Now sweeping Europe like the plague
(Its origins unclear and vague,)
I needed to access, of course,
The major destination Norse.
Oslo, quoth the airline page,
Is red’lent of the Viking age
With mountains large and fjords blue
And just five euro to fly to.

Five euro? Why, here in the Pale,
You’d pay that for a pint of ale,
Or for a BLT on brown
In any sandwich bar in town!
And so my fitful heart fair leapt
And fingers ‘cross the keyboard swept.
And lo! Five euro was the fare
To get my portly self out there,
But with the handling charges, it
Exceeded that amount a bit,
To fifty euro ninety cent,
Which made me feel quite malcontent.
So then I turned my hand to comb
The net for flights to take me home,
But though I clicked “Next Day,” “Next Day,”
No cheap fares could be had till May.
Fifty, seventy, ninety, more –
I clicked until my head was sore,
But as I opened every page,
As far as this old fool could gauge,
The only way I could avail
Of Ryanair’s Fantastic Sale,
Was if I spent nine months or ten
With very Nordic gentlemen,
A prospect that I viewed quite dimly.
Thus I bit the bullet grimly,
Opting for a medium fare
That would fly me out of there –
Twenty nine and ninety nine?
Yes, I s’pose ‘twould do me fine,
But oh those charges and those taxes
Sent me spinning on my axis.
Na├»vely, ‘twas for me surprising
How the total kept on rising.
Checking in my sole valise
Then sent me crashing to my knees,
While paying on my credit card
Also hit my pocket hard.
Total cost – oh saints in heaven –
Two hundred and forty seven!
A little more, I have to say,
Then paying five euro each way.
Low-fare airline? Sadly not –
‘Tis on a par with Aeroflot
And Delta Airways, KLM
And all the flaming rest of them.

And then, when all was sourly paid,
The grim discovery was made
That, far from coming in to land
Somewhere in Oslo’s hinterland,
“Oslo Airport” in fact lay
A whopping seventy miles away,
A salient and pointed fact
That mocks the Trades Description Act.

When Mick O’Leary, as he must,
Returns to ashes and to dust,
I hope St. Peter will be fair
To this proud boss of Ryanair
And let him in for five good deeds,
Which Michael, I am sure, concedes
Is quite an insubstantial price
To pay for ent’ring Paradise.
And when the deeds are called to mind
And Michael’s joy is unconfined,
I hope St. Peter says “Be still!
There’s many extras on this bill.
There’s all the taxes, handling fees –
The cost is rising by degrees –
(Sad you missed our Sale extensions)
Can I check that bag’s dimensions?
Now, where was I? You’ve been told
That putting baggage in the hold
Incurs a further price to pay
Although you’re travelling just one way?”

And may St. Peter says that he’s a
Stickler for the charge for Visa,
And, all in all, the charge for heaven –
Two hundred and forty seven
Deeds of beneficial worth
Done by Michael down on earth.

And if perchance, he can recall
Enough good deeds to pay for all,
May Peter throw those great gates wide
And beckon M.O’L inside,
Adding in a cheery way,
“It’s seventy miles thaddaway.”
This was my entry for the Strokestown 2009 humorous verse competition. To my surprise, I was shortlisted again (third time in four years) and was absolutely thrilled to bits when it finished second! I suppose I had my Big Day last year when The Poverty Trap won and I couldn't argue with the winner, Sean Lyons, whose poem about buying a pair of trousers was delivered with great comic timing and insight.